May 3, 2020
It’s been over forty years since I first read the above mentioned question. It was a contest sponsored by a large newspaper in California. I don’t remember the name of the paper now, but it was located out of Los Angeles or San Francisco. I cut the article out of my state paper and intended to save it. But I remember one of Mark Twain’s quotes. He said, “Three moves is equal to one fire.”
And I agree with him. I’ve moved several times in last forty years, and each time I move something gets torn up, damaged or is missing when I get to my new location and finally get everything unloaded. But even though I no longer have the article, I remember it well, and even preached on it several times since first reading it.
The original newspaper sponsored a contest, lasting one month, for its readers to submit to the paper what they though was the greatest invention of all time. The winner would receive a $100.00 gift. It was a very interesting article. But the paper did the same thing I’m going to do right now. The paper asked their readers to pause from reading the rest of the story and spend time pondering what they thought the invention was. So I paused a minute and came up with what I thought was the best invention. Guess what? I was right, in a way. But my answer was a little narrower than what the paper’s correct answer was. The answer was more all-encompassing than my answer was. And I agreed with the reader who got the answer correct.
Have you thought about an answer yet? The paper named several of the best replies they received. Many, the paper said, had guessed these same replies. They were the most popular answers. The paper did not list in order what people had replied, but there were several things proposed. Many suggested the telephone, radio, television, electricity, medicine, education, cars, airplanes, the wheel, oil, and the printing press. There were more, but I don’t remember all of them now.
The original story was long so that it was in a Sunday edition of the California paper. I read the story after the contest was over and it had been picked up by a major wire service and had been re-published by papers all over the country, including the paper in which I read it. Before getting to the actual answer, I was in great suspense. What would it be? Was I even close to the right answer? The paper kept people dangling as long as possible. Finally the answer came.
After the paper commented for several minutes of reading time on the most popular answers, they finally said (drum roll, please) The correct answer, (and again it was a little broader than my answer, which was Gutenberg’s printing press) of the reader who won the contest was: THE ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE. He went on to say why he thought his answer was the best. And again, I completely agreed with him. He said the ability to communicate was the best answer because if people couldn’t communicate effectively, none of the other inventions could have ever been done. None could have come to fruition. And to this day, I completely agree with the winner. Ironically, among the most popular answers, nobody guessed the computer or internet. Forty some-odd years ago, nobody I knew owned a personal computer. The internet was an idea being researched by U.S. government people in the military, but nothing yet concrete had come of it.
Remember the story of the people in the Bible who tried to build a tower to heaven so they could be like God? God was so angry at their thinking that man could ever be like God that He confused their language. When they all spoke different languages and could not communicate, they had to abandon their tower project.
As I said earlier, I preached from this article a number of times since I first read it. My conclusion from the article was to say that God gave people the ability to invent all the inventions throughout our past history. It may have started with the wheel. I don’t know what the first invention was.
I went on to say what I had heard many times since I had become a pastor. So many have said, and I agree, that if Jesus was alive today, certainly He would use the media. From radio, then television, and eventually the computer and then the internet.
Well, Jesus is not here walking among us right now, but His representatives are. Especially pastors and other ministers. And all of them do use modern media.
I’ll never forget three elderly people telling me how they listened to preachers on the radio. Two were my grandmothers. Grandmother Mae and Grandmother Pansy. They both revealed to me how these early preachers helped develop their faith. And the other person I knew was Mabel Bobo. They are all deceased now, but their legacies live on several generations later because of someone inventing the radio, so there could be mass communication.
Think about all the really important inventions. And please give God credit for giving people the ability to think out the many steps that are needed to create something totally new.
God Bless You,
Please participate in this poll with me. It is important to me to get your feedback.
A few weeks ago I posted I was near launching a once weekly podcast. It will be on same subject as this blog. Health/ Weight Loss/ Inspiration.
I stated it would be a 30 minute broadcast. That is what I had read was about the median time of most podcasts.
But after I posted that information, several people contacted me about the length of 30 minutes, including both of my sisters, Lana and Lisa. They both said that long pod casts just wore them out. They told me that most of the podcasts were from 10 to 15 minutes long. I told them I would think about it and pray about it. And I have been, but thought I would poll my readers, too.
What length of podcast do you like better: 15 minutes or longer, up to thirty minutes? I’ll even give you my email address to contact me with. It’s firstname.lastname@example.org. Please let me hear from you. Thanks, again.