For Dr. George Washington Carver, the purpose and meaning of work boiled down to four words.
After Carver succeeded in creating products from plants, Thomas Edison asked him to come to New Jersey and work for him. Edison offered Carver a salary equivalent in today’s economy to nearly one million dollars per year. Carver declined the offer so he could remain at Tuskegee and help the Southern farmers.
Carver started a “School on Wheels,” going out to farms so he could teach farmers how to revive cotton-tired soil by planting peanuts and sweet potatoes. He also went to his lab to create markets for these plants, inventing 300 uses for the peanut and 118 uses for the sweet potato. Carver not only revived the soil, but the economy as well.
More than twenty years after Carver’s death, Clarence Mason, director of the Carver Research Foundation at Tuskegee, said of Carver: “…I have the most profound respect and admiration for Dr. Carver because he turned away from the field in which he was most skilled and best trained [botany], to work in an area which he felt he could do the most good for the people in his community [chemistry].”
When Booker T. Washington invited Carver to come to Tuskegee Institute to teach students how to plant and harvest crops so they could be brought out of "degradation, poverty and waste," Carver replied: “I…shall be glad to cooperate with you in doing all I can through Christ who strengtheneth me to better the condition of our people.”
That is exactly what Carver did.
Through his work as a botanist-chemist, Carver loved people. At age 60 Carver wrote: “Living for others is really the Christ life after all. Oh, the satisfaction, happiness and joy one gets out of it…I know that my Redeemer lives. Thank God I love humanity; complexion doesn’t interest me one single bit.”
For Carver, it boils down to four words: Love God, love people.
Most people would agree that George Washington Carver was an extraordinary person, doing extraordinary work. But I think it is possible for any legitimate work done by any follower of Christ to be a conduit for loving God and loving people.
What do you think?