"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." I Timothy 3:15
The Test of Character
Frederick B. Greul
Taken from The Watchman Examiner, 1916
No one ever thought iron could be displaced by another metal. Aluminum, made of clay,
is, however, the competitor of iron. A boat made of this new material and capable
of holding six persons weighs only about sixty pounds.
How many men would pass for ordinary men were it not that some trial had brought
out their hidden mettle! The grit of character showed itself in resistance and endurance.
The time may come when hard pressed men will thank God for the rough handling they
Roger Williams came upon appalling times. He was brave and true before his banishment,
but his fourteen weeks of poverty and pain furnished the material to build his monument
for all time. He was not alone, however.
A study of faces in an ordinary car will be productive of material for reflection.
It is a study one can pursue every day with endless profit. Watch the care-drawn
face of some woman. It is hard and fixed. No brightness glistens in the eye. The
woman is alone in the crowd. It is then that the care-worn life looks natural. Little
is known of the storm she faces with a steadfast character. Why does she not give
up? One can tell when that takes place. The trouble is the loom on which that soul
is stretched will be the means of her character development if she has the grit.
She usually has.
What about the minister of the Gospel? Does he have cares hidden beneath the surface
that wrench and burn his soul? No finer men walk the earth than ministers. These
quiet, loyal men are like a bedrock underlying the character and stability of the
church. They are neither understood by the church nor justly estimated by the multitude.
As a class they have character. Character is not disclosed in or developed by physical
gyrations or emotional distortion and intoxication. Character is the product of some
Gethsemane, in most cases.
The crowd likes to hear the minister criticized. The more public and scandalizing
the criticism, the better the crowd likes it.
When some gifted spirit feels that he is the "sledgehammer" of the Almighty, he picks
the minister as a popular target. He hits to smash. One is led to think that usually
he has felt less of the agony of Gethsemane than has the men he beats with a merciless
hand. The crowd likes it and applauds.
The minister goes quietly about his Master's business. Why? Because he is a man of
character. Character can stand the test.
Long after the freaks and foible traducers are forgotten the men who visited Gethsemane
and waited on the Lord will be remembered and be enshrined in the hearts of those
they led God ward.