Just about every home in Australia today has a telephone in it. In fact many homes have multiple phones, and a lot of us carry mobiles. And many of you could easily answer the question: who invented the telephone? Of course, it was Alexander Bell. Bell was amazingly talented. Not only did he invent the telephone, he also invented the multiple telegraph, the audiometer – which is used to test your hearing, the tricycle landing gear you find on planes, and a host of other less well known machines. In addition to this he was cofounder of the prestigious magazine Science, served as President of the National Geographic Society, and spent his life working with deaf people.

But most famous of all is his telephone. It also made his family and his descendents enormously wealthy. But he almost lost it all. You see Bell never seemed to get around to submitting a patent application. Finally, his father-in-law, who had financed a lot of the research, got so impatient that he filed the patent on Bell’s behalf on the 14th of February 1876, Bell’s 29th birthday. And it was just as well, because just a few hours later, another scientist by the name of Elisha Gray went to the patent office to get a patent on a machine he’d been working on for many years – you guessed it, the telephone.

Application: Action. Bell reminds us that sometimes its not enough simply to have great ideas. We need to act on them.

Application: Faith, Works. Bell and his father-in-law are a good example of the relationship between faith and works. As James says, one without the other is ineffective. Bell had faith in his telephone but did nothing about it. His father-in-law had faith and works to go with it.

Application: Community, Giftedness. Bells story reminds us how we need all types of people to make our communities and churches function effectively. We need the thinkers like Bell, the doers like Bell’s father-in-law, and together we can accomplish great things.

Source: Scott Higgins. Scientific info from Dr Karl Kruszelnicki’s New Moments in Science #1

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