The story is told of a prosecuting attorney in a small town courthouse called his first witness, an elderly woman, to the stand. He approached her and asked, “Mrs. Jones, do you know me?”
A Michigan judge found himself in the news recently because of the violation of a courtroom rule—and what happened next. Judge Raymond Voet has long had a policy forbidding the use of electronic devices in the courtroom. Anyone whose phone rings aloud has it confiscated and receives a fine. Over the years, attorneys, police officers, witnesses, and spectators have broken the rule and received the punishment.
Henry Heinz, born in 1844, to German immigrants in Pittsburg, PA, helped support his family as a teenager by growing and selling vegetables in the family garden. After graduating from college and getting married, he started a business selling horse radish. In 1875, a national financial collapse drove the young company into bankruptcy. Despite the legal freedom bankruptcy gave him, Heinz regarded each of the company’s outstanding debts as a moral obligation and personally paid back every penny.
The tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, rises more than 2,700 feet—over half a mile tall. It has 160 floors and is twice as tall as the Empire State Building in New York City. It is home to the world’s fastest elevator that travels at 40 miles per hour. The Burj Khalifa also hosts the world’s highest outdoor observation deck (on the 124th floor) and the world’s highest swimming pool (on the 76th floor).
Someone once observed that a wasted life is really nothing more than a collection of wasted days. As God gives us life, each one of us starts the new year with the same number of opportunities—365—that we can choose to either use and invest in eternal things or allow to drift by without taking advantage of the gift we have been given. The difference between those who succeed and those who fail is not found primarily in talent but in diligence and effort.
At age nineteen, these resolutions were adopted by Dr. James Clement Furman who became the first president of Furman University:
Resolved, never to speak ill of an individual but to call to mind my own sins and imperfections and be silent.
Resolved, when my heart feels cold and languid, to strive earnestly in prayer to God for deliverance from such a state and for the abiding influence of His Holy Spirit; and to inquire into the causes which have produced this effect upon me and to guard against them in the future.
"A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you, and were helped by you will remember you. Carve your name on hearts, not marble."—Charles Spurgeon
“If I take care of my character, my reputation will take care of itself.”—D. L. Moody
"No man can climb beyond the limitations of his own character.”—John Morley
"Character is doing what's right when nobody's looking."—J. C. Watts Jr.
“The test of a man’s character is what it takes to stop him.”—Bob Jones Sr.
If you can be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
If you can resist complaining,
If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,
If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any
If you can overlook it when those you love take it out on you when, through no fault of yours, something goes wrong,
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can ignore a friend's limited education and never correct him/her,
If you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend,
Korean Air Lines flight KE007 was shot down by Soviet fighter-jets on September 1, 1983. On that fateful night, 240 unsuspecting passengers and crew members were shot down like an innocent sparrow in flight. The trigger-man for the Soviet Union was Major Osipovich, a pilot who wasn’t originally scheduled to be in the air during this international travesty.
Diamonds are formed under great pressure and heat. If these conditions do not exist, they are simply not formed. It is not that they will be low quality, or smaller in size, but they will not form. God brings His refining fire into our lives to create in us what He sees fit. When He sees our lack of character, He will bring into our lives what we need. So next time a fiery trial comes, thank God. He is producing exactly what He knows you need in your life. The only difference between a diamond and a piece of coal is pressure.
Your work is an expression of the image of God in you, and it's worth thinking about how your work reflects His character. Work as simple as cleaning out a closet reflects the God who makes order out of chaos. Holding a stop sign for children to cross the road creates an environment of safety that reflects the God who protects. The person who flips burgers is providing food, which is something that God does. A father or mother who nurtures a child reflects the love, patience, and perseverance of God.