by Bill Dye
Isaac Newton was a short man. A strong jaw and a fine nose marked his craggy complexion. The back of his large head protruded noticeably. They say the painfully reclusive professor cared little about food and even less about clothing. His classes at Cambridge were poorly attended.
One day Isaac Newton was sitting in a contemplative mood when in his own words, he “… was occasioned by the fall of an apple.” The apple got Newton thinking. “What’s pulling it toward the ground? Could it be that the same force acting on the apple was acting on the planets and stars?”
After inventing Calculus to do the math, Newton applied discoveries by Kepler and Piccard to prove that gravity controlled the movement of the planets.
Satisfied that he was right, the absent-minded professor set aside his findings among stacks of other papers and went back to his favorite hobby of trying to turn lead into gold.
Enter Edmond Halley. Halley was 14 years younger than Newton and his exact opposite. Where Newton was withdrawn and reclusive, Halley was outgoing and gregarious. In 1684 Halley was working on the orbits of comets when Christopher Wren told him of a theory Newton discussed in one of his lectures years earlier.
Halley rushed to Cambridge. Unfortunately, Newton had lost his calculations. Think about that. The guy that discovered gravity had lost it. Good thing he was Isaac Newton and he could reproduce his research.
When he read Newton’s conclusions Halley instantly recognized their importance. “You must publish this!” Newton refused. He was reluctant to expose himself to public criticism. Years earlier he’d had a bad experience with scientific scrutiny. Halley insisted. He even agreed to personally pay for the publication. When Newton’s Principia came off the press (1687) the way we would understand the universe changed forever.
A few years after that, (1705), Edmund Halley used Newton’s ideas to plot the course of a significant comet that reappeared every 75 years. Halley predicted the comet would reappear in 1758. He didn’t live to confirm his theory, but when the comet showed up on time they named it after him. The comet would forever be known as Halley’s Comet but the ideas it proved belonged to Newton.
Think what might have happened had we not had Isaac Newton AND Edmund Halley. Without Halley’s push Newton’s findings might have been lost for generations. We needed BOTH men.
That story is a powerful reminder of how we need each other.
Everyone is good at something but nobody is good at everything. I tell the church all the time, “Every single one of you is better than me in some way.” Your strengths perfectly align with my limitations. God designed us like that so that we will need each other. John Donne was right, “No man is an island.”
Success almost always comes from two. There were two Disney’s, Walt AND Roy. There would be Apple without Jobs AND Woz. Ford had Malcomson. Gates had Alan. It took both Harley AND Davidson to build the better motorcycle. One man may get the credit but look beneath most achievements of merit and you will find a team.
That’s because not only are we better together but also we make each other better.
So let’s get busy and work together.
Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;