Character: Only as Good as the Material it's Made of

Author: Chaplain, Lt. Col. David Causey, USA (Ret.)

Photo by The U.S. Army is licensed under CC BY 2.0

October 13, 2017 | Tagged: Faith, Hope, Identity, Perseverance

Without it we would have never built the pyramids, crossed the oceans or scaled Mount Everest.  It has saved countless lives, pulled thousands from the angry seas and stopped the fall of many mountain climbers.  What is it?  Rope.

Rope has been around for a long time. Throughout its history – from the early Egyptians, through the Industrial Age, down to the present – rope has taken on the same basic pattern. This pattern consists of fibers twisted (clockwise) into yarns, yarns twisted (counterclockwise) into strands, and strands (clockwise again) into rope. This alternation of the twist is the secret that gives rope its cohesion and strength.

The material for rope has also remained unchanged.  Earliest mankind used sinew, but people have always used plant fibers.  Today the tough fibers from the bark or leaves of abaca, sisal, jute, or hemp provide the best organic material.  The best modern synthetic material is nylon, polypropylene, or Dacron.  Far inferior – more easily obtainable – material has also been used for rope. A rope is only as good as the fibers that go into it.

In a way the quality of fibers that make a rope parallels the quality of the thoughts, words, deeds, and habits that form our character. Character determines our destiny.

The example of an English manufacturer of rope graphically illustrates this idea.  The man lived in the early days of the Industrial age.  His arduous work and attention to detail earned him the reputation for producing the finest and strongest rope in the world.  But the man began to pay more attention to profit than to quality.  He sought out cheaper materials for fibers and substituted the inferior for the superior.  He amassed a fortune in the process and managed to keep his reputation unstained.

Then one day, as fate would have it, while sailing the Atlantic to America, a tempest-driven wave washed the man overboard.  The sailors scrambled to rescue him.  They tossed him a rope which he managed to grasp.  But as the sailors pulled him through the buffeting waves the rope suddenly snapped.  The man drifted hopelessly away from the ship to his destiny.

Upon inspection the seamen observed that the rope was not only new – it was the famous rope made by the very man they had sought to rescue.  He had died a victim of his own inferior rope.  The inferior quality of his rope, like the quality of his character, had altered his destiny.

Author Frank Outlaw once wrote: “Watch your thoughts; they become words.  Watch your words; they become actions.  Watch your actions; they become habits.  Watch your habits; they become character.  Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”

The Scripture says, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23, NKJV)


PRAYER:  Dear Father in heaven, please, even if I must go through the furnace of affliction, make me into the person of value and integrity that you desire me to be.  Amen.

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