Kingdom Hero – George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver was born in 1864, into slavery, but through sheer determination, amplified by the power of God, he became one of the most important scientists of the 20th century. By the time he died in 1943 he was a legend.

Carver spent most of his adult life as a professor at the Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama, as the head of its Agriculture Department. As the boll weevil began to infest cotton crops throughout the Southern United States, people finally began to listen to Carver, who had encouraged farmers to diversify their crops so they were not so dependent upon cotton. At Carver’s insistence, farmers began to plant and harvest the peanut.

After praying and asking the Lord for insight about the universe and about mankind, the Lord encouraged Carver to focus on something smaller. He reminded Carver of Genesis 1:29 and specifically that He had given peanuts and other plants to mankind for their use. So Carver returned to his laboratory with some peanuts in hand and began studying them, breaking them down into their constituent parts and coming up with different uses for them. Carver would eventually come up with more than 300 uses for the peanut. 

Carver did not care about money or personal acclaim. He would discover and develop ideas that could be used to start profitable businesses for new products, but instead of patenting those ideas, he made them freely available for the public good. He could have chosen to be a wealthy man by worldly standards, but he chose instead to be an effective man by Kingdom standards.

What led me to study Carver, and to his authorized biography by Rackham Holt, was to understand how Carver worked inspired by the Holy Spirit. He fully attributed his discovery of the many uses of the peanut to inspiration from the Lord, and I wanted to understand how he had gone about obtaining that inspiration.

Here is how Carver described the process:

I discover nothing in my laboratory. If I come here of myself I am lost. But I can do all things through Christ. I am God’s servant, His agent, for here God and I are alone. I am just the instrument through which He speaks, and I would be able to do more if I were to stay in closer touch with Him. With my prayers I mix my labors, and sometimes God is pleased to bless the results.

George Washington Carver

Carver attributes his success to believing the Holy Spirit did not just empower him to do ministry things but all things, and in so believing, to seek God’s counsel and inspiration in his work.

And for that Carver is a Kingdom hero. GS

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