James C. Kinard said: "A man, watching a plumber cut up a huge chunk of lead by driving a chisel into it, remarked that it seemed easy. The workman replied that it was but that it spoiled the chisel. The spectator could not understand how soft lead could do that. The explanation was, 'It takes the temper out of the steel so that it is good for nothing else. To cut much lead will ruin the finest chisel.'
"Soft jobs to fill, easy tasks to perform, flower-strewn pathways to travel, all take the temper out of character and make life well-nigh meaningless. There are gifted souls who know how to dig from the dust of difficulties, loneliness, or sorrow sparkling diamonds of joy to brighten the lives of others.
"John Calvin wrote dynamic theology in the agony of torturing disease. Defoe was in jail when he created Robinson Crusoe. From behind prison bars came the Pilgrim's Progress of Bunyan. Both authors had been unjustly imprisoned.
"In his old age, Sir Walter Scott penned some of his most famous classics to pay off a half-million dollar debt for which he was not legally responsible. Able to use his eyes only five minutes a day, Prescott became a noted historian.
"Almost totally deaf and his heart burdened with deep sorrow, Beethoven composed soul-stirring symphonies. Handel, warned of approaching death, continued to give his soul to memorable music. Mozart produced some of his most magnificent operas while fighting hopelessly an incurable malady.
"Hiding in the castle of Wartburg from enemies seeking his life, Martin Luther translated the Bible into language that the humblest peasant could understand. The Apostle Paul, in prison awaiting execution at the hands of Nero, wrote some of his most beautiful letters to the churches.
"Blind Fanny Crosby has left us many hymns of comfort and inspiration. Blind and deaf Helen Keller once said, 'As I walk about my chamber with unsteady feet my unconquerable soul soars skyward on the wings of the eagle.'
"Even the least talented of us can bring happiness to ourselves and to others by learning how to dig diamonds from dust."