We who preach and write, do so in a manner different from which the Scriptures have been written. We write while we make progress. We learn something new every day. We speak as we still knock for understanding...If anyone criticizes me when I have said what is right, he does me an injustice. But I would be more angry with the one who praises me and takes what I have written for Gospel truth than I would be with the one who criticizes me unfairly. -Augustine

Soap, Soup, or Superconductors

I recently reread the story of a man named William Lever in Boys of Grit who Changed the World. The youngest of seven children, Lever worked in his father’s shop as a child. The story tells how, when he was engaged to be married, “his salary was five dollars a week.” But Lever “knew how to value every spare moment,” and his diligence was evidenced by his consistent habit of rising at four-thirty every morning.

As a young man, Lever went on to develop his own business–selling soap. Though his father desired for him to help in the family business, he allowed his son to follow his passions and apparent God-given bent. So he loaned him the start up money, which enabled him to buy a small abandoned factory.

The story tells how “he was never ashamed to do the hardest or the dirtiest work” in his own factory. At first, Lever was uncertain whether his soap business would succeed, but within three years he was producing 450 tons of soap weekly. Lever took care of his employees, too. Cottages for his workers were within walking distance to the factory, dotting the landscape with gardens and walkways. He established an academic center for the children as well as an orchestra for advanced studies in music. People from all over the world bought his soap. In 1911 “he was made a baronet . . . and became Sir William Lever,” knighted by King George of England. And his soap is still sold today!

In the book of Proverbs, Solomon encourages us to use our time wisely, for “in all labor there is profit,” (Proverbs 14:23) whether you’re making soap, soup, or super conductors.

Published in: on October 18, 2010 at 6:40 am  Leave a Comment