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August 2005 Character Quality - Faith
the following editorial article was written by Gloria Cooper for publication in The Paris News --
   “We have to turn back, Captain!  There will soon be an end and we shall perish!” the
frightened first mate informed Christopher Columbus.  The year was 1492, and Columbus and
his crew were sailing west – around the world, they hoped – to find a route to the Indies.  At that
time, however, the majority of the people believed that the earth was not round, but flat.  
Christopher Columbus disagreed, so he set out to prove his suppositions.  “We must have faith,”
Captain Columbus told his crew, “that soon we shall reach land.”  Several days later, the worried
sailors sighted land and realized the great opportunity they would have missed had they not had
faith, and turned back instead.  They had discovered two major things:  The earth was round, as
Columbus had first believed, and they found two other major continents known today as North
and South America.  Had Christopher Columbus not had faith to continue his arduous journey
and had his sailors not had faith in him, they would not have learned what great opportunities
lay over the great expanse of the Atlantic Ocean.

    What is faith?  It is the substance of things hoped for – the evidence of things not yet seen.  
It is confidence that actions rooted in good character will yield the best outcome, even when we
cannot see how.  There are varying levels of faith in every person.  Some have weak faith, while
others have strong faith.  There is little and great, tested or untested, abounding or lagging
faith.  Whatever type of faith we posses, we must build upon it every day.  “Faith by its nature,”
Oswald Chambers says, “must be tried.  Faith untried has no character value for the individual.”  

    We have to have faith in strong, moral character so that we will do what is right, even if we
cannot see how it will help us at the time.  We can see this application of faith in all of our
workday activities.  Someone may find an accounting error that would give him an unexpected
“bonus”.  Placing faith in the character quality of honesty would be to report the error, believing
that the long-term benefit of integrity will be greater than the short-term gain of a little extra
cash.  If a builder takes some extra time to reinforce a structure or add some quality to his work,
his thoroughness and diligence could keep him from the bad results of a possible lawsuit and
bless him with the good outcome of more job references.  

    A.W. Tozer says, “Faith never means gullibility.  The man who believes everything is as far
from God as the man who refuses to believe anything.”  That is, we must rely on godly
principles, but not take things for granted.  We build our faith in several ways.  We should
embrace the truth and only the truth; recognize the potential of an idea; and stand strong on
what we believe.  If you do your part honorably, rooted and grounded in strong character, then
you do not need to worry about the outcome.  Henry Ward Beecher once said, “Every tomorrow
has two handles.  We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith.”  
Portions of this article have been adapted from Character First! materials.  Visit the Character Council of Red
River Valley at For more information about the Character First! program and
resources contact:  
Character Training Institute, 520 W. Main Street, Oklahoma City, OK  73102,  (405) 815-0001
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