Hedi Tomassi was a server on her first day of her new job at Applebee’s in Olathe, Kansas.  She sure needed the work.  Hedi and her husband, Joe, were a 20something couple with a pile of medical bills.  Their son, Griffin, was born in July was a heart defect that required surgery one day after he was born. Two weeks later there was another operation.  But the defect was not repaired.  And the baby only had a few weeks to live. To make matters worse, Joe was fired from his job when he asked for some time off. 

Finally the Tomassi’s found a Stanford University surgeon who could repair the rare defect and save the child’s life. With the bills mounting and time running out, Heidi was glad to get a job during the Christmas season just to make ends meet.   Suddenly her luck was about to change.  After serving a couple, and cleaning off the table she found an envelope with $3300 in $100 bills.  No one could blame her for saying “finders keepers.” 

“I never gave it a second thought,” said Hedi. “It wasn’t my money to begin with. Keeping it wasn’t even an option.”  So, she gave it  to the Applebee’s manager to put in the safe until the couple returned to claim it. 

I don’t know anything else about Hedi Tomassi.  But I know this– Hedi is a young lady with character. 

D.L. Moody once said, “Character is what you are in the dark.”  Or what you are when no one is looking.  Or what you are when life is tough.  Or what you are when the circumstances seem to justify it. 

Character is the foundation of all other qualities.  Goodness. Virtue. Honesty. Courage. Integrity. Purity.  All of these and more are the fruit produced from the root of character.  They are the handiwork of thoughts, influences, and relationships.  The wise man wrote, “As he thinks in his heart so is he” (Prov 23:7).  Yes, as Emerson said, “A man is what he thinks about all day long.”  So Paul would admonish us to think on things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and of good repute.  And anything else that is virtuous and praiseworthy (Phil 4:8).  Indeed my character will never rise above my thoughts. 

But remember this. “Character”,  penned Rick Warren, “is never built in the classroom; it is built in the circumstances of life.”  Yes, we can learn about and identify the qualities of character in the classroom, in the small group, and in the worship assembly. However, it is in pressure-cooker of daily life as we respond to situations and circumstances that character is developed.  When we apply what we have learned, and make the correct choices in “small issues” our character is formed. And repeated over and over character grows, and is strengthened.  That is why Robert Freeman was right when he wrote, “Character is not made in a crisis, it is only exhibited.” 

So today, “examine yourself.”  What kind of character are you developing?  Do you need a course correction?  What are you doing to supply your mind with the right kind of thoughts?  And how are you applying what you know in your daily decisions? 

The ancient Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, simply wrote, “Character is destiny.”  What’s  yours?  And what’s mine?


Filed under character

12 responses to “Character

  1. Dina

    Good words Ken!


  2. Very good message. Paul exhorts us as Christians to be “be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life” (Phil 2:15-16).


  3. Rachel Barr

    Thanks Ken that was really something to think about. Good job, keep it up.


  4. Joe Greer

    Ken, I thought this article on Character was extra good!


  5. Ruth Bryan

    Ken I am following you posts. They are great. Lot,s of encouragement. Thanks.


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