10 people who changed your life

There are thousands of people who change our lives, but we rarely have an opportunity to meet them.  Many of them have made our lives much easier, but we will probably never be able to thank them.  Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes helped me out this weekend and I didn’t realize that until this morning.  Chances are, Alfred and Marc have had a huge impact on your life as well.  So, who are Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes and why have they helped so many?

In just a few days, we will begin hauling Christmas decorations out of our closets and attic.  I bet you will think about Alfred and Marc when you do.  My son and his wife received a wonderful picture at their baby shower this weekend.  It arrived home safe and scratch free because of those two men.  They are credited with inventing bubble-wrap.

Clarence Birdseye has BLESSED my life.  He invented the process of flash-freezing food.  I don’t know how I would have fed my family without him!

Ernie Fraze invented the pull-tab on aluminum cans.  Ernie was at a picnic and had forgotten to bring a can opener.  He finally opened his beer can using the bumper of his car.  When he arrived home, he stayed up all night until he came up with the pull-tab.  Years later, he invented the one that we use today.  That familiar “pop” of a can being opened has been heard several billion times since.

Samuel O’Reilly has certainly left his mark on the world.  He invented the electric tattoo machine.   NBA players have been making Samuel a great deal of money in recent years.  

John Walker has helped a lot of Boy Scouts shortcut their way to a badge.  He invented the compound that allows you to light a match by swiping the side of the box.  I wonder who invented the lighter?

Thomas Midgley Jr. has been labeled a villain lately.  He won an award for his invention and people praised him for stopping the “pinging” in their car engines.  His major inventions, including tetraethyl lead gasoline and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), are being blamed as major contributors toward global warming.  

School teachers are not huge fans of Thomas Adams.  He experimented with a substance called chicle.  He was trying to improve bicycle tires and rain boots.  Eventually he invented chewing gum.  I wonder when he first thought it would be a good idea to stick chicle in his mouth?  A LOT of school janitors wish he had stuck with the tires and boots.

Pierre Lorillard IV changed the world of fashion in 1886.  He sent his son, Griswold, to the Autumn Ball wearing a formal jacket – without tails.   Needless to say, the “Tuxedo Club” in New York City was properly shocked.  Bridegrooms and groomsmen have been encouraged to mimic Griswold ever since.

Our ministry exists today because of Tim Berners-Lee.  He is the British computer scientist who invented the World Wide Web.  All of us at the Denison Forum are grateful for his ingenuity.  Christians everywhere are sending God’s word throughout the world because of his invention.  I often bring up a particular Bible verse when I am speaking about the purpose of The Denison Forum.   Jesus was teaching his disciples about the time that would mark the end of the world when he said, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).  I quote that verse because, for the first time in human history, that verse can be fulfilled.

When Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, he enabled ministries like ours to send God’s word anywhere.  Even countries that have traditionally controlled the transmission of news and information have been rendered powerless to sensor the gospel.  Computer servers can be controlled, but cell phones function because of satellites.  All information that can be downloaded on a cell phone, can go anywhere in the world.

The Denison Forum sends e-mails to more than 200 countries, and provides free Bible study and theological papers each day to anyone with Internet access.  We know God’s word is reaching people who live in places that have never been allowed to hear the gospel.  Jesus said, “the gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world, as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”  

As I sit typing this morning, grateful for the invention of Tim Berners-Lee, I can’t help but wonder.  Will Matthew 24:14 be fulfilled in my lifetime?  I know this – it is very possible.

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