What inspired Justus von Liebig to do the amazing things he did?
In 1816, when Justus was thirteen, he became an apprentice in his father’s workshop in Darmstadt, Germany. His family sold paints and pigments and young Justus early developed a love for mixing unusual combinations of paints and polishes.
This experience led Justus to choose a career in applied chemistry and he eventually became one of the most brilliant and successful chemists in the world. When he was a young adult he decided to use his chemical skills to attack world hunger. He conducted some of the earliest research ever into fertilizers that would enrich the soil and grow more food for needy people.
He next started to study what would someday become nutritional science and was one of the first scientists to analyze and understand the elements, such as protein, fats and carbohydrates that made up good food. This enabled him to recommend better foods that could benefit more people. He even invented beef extract so the essential proteins of the beef could be easily transported to where the nutrition was most needed.
Justus knew that many mothers were too poor to eat well enough to breastfeed and decided to do something to help them. He invented a liquid that was as close to breast milk as possible, then created strict quality controls so the liquid would be as pure as he could make it. His recipe was formed by mixing cow’s milk, wheat flour, malt flour and potassium bicarbonate. He recognized that his concoction was not as good as breast milk but was concerned about women who through illness or malnutrition could not produce the natural substance.
When he was satisfied with the result he called his invention, “Liebig’s Soluble Food for Babies”, and prepared it for sale. He had invented the first baby formula.
So again, what motivated this intelligent and gifted inventor? It seems, from the historical record, that his main motive for all this success was not money or fame (although he achieved both) but simply love and compassion.
This is an awesome and explosive truth. The greatest motivation is love.
This does not mean that money earned is wrong. After all the Bible says in Deuteronomy 8:18, “But remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms His covenant, which He swore to your forefathers, as it is today.”
It does mean that the best goals are wrapped in God’s love and concern. It means that the greatest formula for success is to succeed while you bless and help others.
I had just finished speaking at a giant convention in Atlanta and was asked if I could stay overnight to speak at a Sunday morning Christian service. I was scheduled to fly to Los Angeles to speak the same night as the service and was not sure if I could make the flight if I spoke Sunday morning. As I wrestled with the decision, one of the convention leaders said that he felt I was supposed to give a special message to introduce people to Christ as Savior and he was praying that I would stay. I instantly felt that God wanted me to stay and that He would take care of the schedule.
We had a fantastic service the next morning with enormous response. As soon as I finished a car picked me up and we hurried to the airport. I walked up to the gate four minutes before the door was scheduled to close. An agent took my ticket and, to my surprise, tore it up. He then handed me a new ticket for a first class seat.
Then something completely unexpected happened. I suddenly felt superior to all the economy passengers who could not afford first class. I wanted them to see me. I was proud of my location and wanted them to know it.
Just as suddenly, I heard God’s inner voice telling me that He had blessed me with a first class seat so I could rest before my next speech not to inflate my ego. My blessing was not intended to boost my pride but to rest me so I could bless other people.
I want God to bless your success and give you great prosperity. But always remember that the greatest motivation for success is to bless others.
As you thank God for the blessings of this Thanksgiving, ask Him to use you in the coming year to be an engine of blessing for everyone you know. Then people will thank God for YOU at their next Thanksgiving.
The Bible says in John 13:35, “By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another.”