|George Washington Carver (c. 1860-1943)|
Dr. George Washington Carver didn't find meaning in his work, he brought meaning to his work. For Carver, it boiled down to four words.
After Carver succeeded in creating scores of products from plants, Thomas Edison asked him to come to New Jersey to work for him. Edison offered Carver a salary of nearly one million dollars per year, equivalent in today’s economy. 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 directly how to revive cotton-tired soil by planting peanuts and sweet potatoes. Carver not only revived the soil, but the Southern economy as well. Farmer by farmer.
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 [chemistry] which he felt he could do the most good for the people in his community.”
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 God and loved people. He 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 boiled down to four words: Love God, love people. He did this through his daily work.
Are you thinking of quitting your job, so you can go into "the ministry?" If God is calling you to be a pastor, great. Go for it! We need good pastors. But think twice before you quit your current job, thinking it's not "ministry." If "ministry" is all about "loving God and loving people," I suspect this can be done quite effectively through the work you're already doing. Don't know how? Ask God to show you. That's what Carver did.
If you missed last week's video about Carver, you can catch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wv4qYIyJoM