More Than Conquerors
“Mr. Creator- Why The Peanut”: George Washington Carver
What’s stopping you?
“Ninety-nine percent of failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.” -George Washington Carver
All of us have heroes that we look up to, people that inspire us because of their achievements. We wish that we could be like them. However, we realize that it is not easy. Sometimes, we think…maybe they were just born with their abilities…maybe it was talent that got them to the top. Then, we get discouraged and start to think that we can never achieve what they have achieved.
What’s important for us to understand is that our heroes were able to inspire others and make an impact not just through talent alone but more importantly, through hard work and perseverance.
George Washington Carver was an inventor who became famous for finding over 100 uses for peanuts including peanut butter, cosmetics, dyes, paints, plastics, gasoline, and nitroglycerin. In our present time, we would probably consider him as a rockstar for inventing numerous inventions.
However, this great giant we all know today had humble origins.
He was born on a farm near Diamond, Missouri, in Newton County about 1865. Moses and Susan Carver owned his mother, Mary. His father, a slave on a neighboring farm, died before George was born. When George was just a few months old, he and his mother were kidnapped from the Carver farm by a band of men who roamed Missouri during the Civil War era. These outlaws hoped to sell George and his mother elsewhere. Young George was recovered by a neighbor and returned to the Carvers, but his mother was not. Moses and Susan Carver raised George and his older brother, Jim.
Growing up, he developed a curiosity with everything that he observed. One teacher described him as someone who had the burning zeal to learn. However, racism and slavery during this time prevent him from attending school. Despite having the passion to learn, there was no open door for him.
In 2 Corinthians 4:7-9, we read:
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
Paul reminded the church in Corinth that there are doors of opportunities for growth in the midst of our trials and sufferings.
Even though his dream and passion to learn was temporarily halted, George continued onwards. While trying to save up for school, George worked many menial jobs. Instead of allowing his circumstances to paralyze him, George took advantage of every open door available to him.
7 “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:
These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. 8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.
Indeed, the Lord opens doors of opportunities that no one can shut. Sometimes, these opportunities come to us in ways that we least expect.
“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work” -Thomas A. Edison.
In this video, Michael Jordan speaks and shares to the next generation:
When we look at our heroes, we only see their achievements yet miss out on their journey.
After saving up enough money, George was able to attend a semester in Simpson College in Iowa. He was the only African American student in the college. As he strived to be the best in school, his teachers acknowledged his abilities and eventually encouraged him to major in horticulture. In his studies, he learned not just to benefit himself but more so, to help the people around him. After he graduated, George returned to help a former slave population become self-sufficient through farming. He eventually invented the Jesep Wagon – a wagon that would circulate for the purposes of education the African American community about horticulture. George encouraged the farmers to plant peanuts instead of other plants. With the supply of peanuts, he developed 300 uses for it. Some of his invention for peanut are: peanut butter, adhesives, chili sauce, fuel, ink, instant coffee, linoleum, mayonnaise, meat tenderizers and much more.
With his success, he was offered a $100,000 a year (now almost $1 million dollar) salary. However, George turned it down because he understood that his inventions were not for his own benefit but for the benefit of others.
If we only look at the success of George Washington Carver, you come to realize and admire his passion and hard work. Greatness can be achieved not just by talents and skill but also through passion and hard work.
Perhaps the questions that we can ask ourselves today are: What am I doing with the doors of opportunities that are opened to me? Am I taking advantage of them, seizing them for the purposes of stepping closer to my destination?