James 1:5- If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. NKJV
I was listening to a sermon one day when I learned some interesting things about George Washington Carver. That day, I decided that I wanted to share him with all of my readers. A man who learned to trust the wisdom of God, more than the wisdom of man, is someone we can all emulate and strive to be like.
George Washington Carver is best known as the Peanut Man because he personally invented over 300 uses for the peanut.
He was born right after the Civil War and displayed at a young age a thirst for knowledge and a keen interest in plant life. At the age of 10, he went out on his own looking for an education. Carver learned to read and write, mostly on his own. Eventually he was able to get a more formal education, later attending high school. When he was refused entrance to college in Kansas because he was Black, he later enrolled at Iowa State Agricultural College, now known as Iowa State University. Earning both his Bachelor’s degree in agricultural science and then his master’s degree in science, he went on to become the university’s first Black professor.
When Booker T. Washington asked Carver to join his efforts at Tuskegee Institute, Carver moved to Alabama and remained at Tuskegee for the rest of his life. Offered money and jobs that would have added to his wealth and status, he refused them focusing his time and efforts to better the living conditions of Blacks in the South.
After years of planting cotton, the soil in the South was depleted of nutrients and its production of cotton was hurting, as was the price of cotton, causing poverty and starvation amongst Blacks. Carver studied the soil and came up with the idea of plant rotation, which involved planting sweet potatoes and peanuts to replace the nutrients that cotton removed. Soon the production of peanuts, pecans, and sweet potatoes was so great that people didn’t have a lot of use for them.
This led Carver to begin research into products he could make using peanuts and sweet potatoes. The interesting thing is that although he was a scientist with the skills to develop products, he didn’t trust in that alone.
Carver was a man of faith in God. He spent his early morning time in prayer with his heavenly Father. He said that he would then go into his laboratory, and his ideas would take form into the many products he is known for today.
James encouraged believers who need wisdom, to spend time in prayer, asking God for it. He said that if we ask God for wisdom, He would give us wisdom. I know this to be true. At times, when I am in the passion of a situation, I might not wait to listen, and I can’t hear because I am too busy making my own plans. But that does not negate the truth of the word that God will give us wisdom if we ask for it!
Solomon gives this advice:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV
This is Christianity 101, yet I still find myself needing the reminder to trust God and to allow Him to direct me.
Carver learned to trust the voice of God in his spirit. As a result of that trust in God, he developed over 300 products from peanuts, including milk, soap, cosmetics, ink, plastics, and dyes. From the sweet potato, he found over 118 uses that include ink, molasses, vinegar, flour, and the glue used on postage stamps.
Even with all of my praying, I’ve not had this kind of creativity. But that’s because God gives us what we need to do what needs to be done. I’m not an inventor, so I have no need for Him to inspire me as He did Carver. I’m a teacher, and His inspiration during my daily time with my students continues to amaze me.
For example, I was teaching a math concept. After a week of using every strategy in our textbook and a couple of strategies of my own, nothing was clicking for my students. Not any of them! So I understood in my heart that I needed a new strategy, while I felt that I had exhausted them all. Then suddenly I had an idea and began working on it. Sure enough, the next time that I met with my students, light bulbs went on. They began to understand the concept that I was teaching. We were able to move forward. Praise the Lord! This has happened time again.
I think of the many gifted and talented people I have come across, even those in my family. It’s rarely in other fields of expertise that God gives them wisdom. He tends to give us the wisdom we need for the life that we live. I am probably helping somebody right now.
We don’t have to spend our lives wishing we were like anybody else. As a matter of fact, Paul wrote that when we compare ourselves to one another, we are not being wise (2 Corinthians 10:12). Neither do we have to covet what God is doing in their lives. What we need to do is to trust that God knows what He is doing in our lives and will provide the wisdom that we need to live our lives.
James continued this text by stating that when we ask for wisdom, God gives it liberally and doesn’t get mad at us for asking! Have you ever asked someone to help you and they looked at you like you were crazy? Or you asked someone for advice on how to do something, and they acted like you wanted to steal from them? Well, that’s not how God acts! He has absolutely no problem sharing His wisdom with you. As a matter of fact, He wants to share it with you!
For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightlyProverbs 2:7-8 NKJV
There it is! A witness from the proverbs that God is willing to share His wisdom. But there is a catch!
But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.James 1:6 NKJV
When you ask God for wisdom, you have to ask in faith! That’s it! The same requirement for getting anything from God, so that shouldn’t surprise you or worry you! You have to believe that when you ask for wisdom, God will give it! If you do not believe that He will grant it, you will miss it even if He shares it!
George Washington Carver was a brilliant scientist, and a man of faith. He trusted God to use him, his gifts, and his knowledge to help farmers in the South. He was more interested in being a blessing, a solution to someone’s need, than he was interested in lining his pockets. He died a poor man, yet his wealth is still be shared by the world today!
I leave you with these words from George Washington Carver:
I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.George W. Carver