“The Shoulders of Giants”
Sir Isaac Newton was an English scientist and philosopher who lived from the mid-17th century to the early 18th century. The title above is attributed to him. As a boy, Newton was fascinated by mechanical devices and spent more time making them than studying in school. As a result, his teachers considered him to be a poor student. In time, he proved his teachers wrong.
When he became old enough to attend college, he didn’t have the financial resources that other students had. Eventually he was permitted to enroll at the lowest entry-level of college. To manage the cost of a college education, he ran errands for regular students. He often ate portions of meals left over by them.
When his college closed because of the plague, he continued to study and conduct experiments on his own, making notes as he progressed from one experiment to the next. Within a period of eighteen months he made three discoveries that eventually made him famous. You will probably remember Newton’s three basic laws of motion: objects set in motion tend to remain in motion until stopped by an external force; objects tend to move in a straight line unless diverted by an outside force; and for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. He was only 24 years of age when he discovered the system of math we call calculus.
As brilliant as he was, Newton honored those who contributed to his discoveries by saying about them,
“If I have been able to see further than others,
it was because I stood on the shoulders of giants.”
I’ve known some giants in my lifetime, haven’t you? Were there not individuals who singled you out in your youth, spent time with you, encouraged your every effort, prayed for you, praised your achievements, overlooked your failures and stood in the wings of your life when you took center stage? Perhaps they were your teachers, your pastors, your coaches, your parents, your grandparents, your friends, your siblings, and your mentors—people who always seemed to “be there” for you when you needed them.
The fact is that if we have enjoyed any praise, any honor, any success, it may have been because of the “giants” on whose shoulders we stood as we viewed the plan of God for our lives. In a very real way they share in our achievements.
This may be a good time to remember them…honor them...thank them for the incredible and often quiet contributions they have made to your life and ministry.
They may be living giants or giants who have passed.
I promise you this: Whoever receives a “thank you” from you will never forget it. You will make their day. You will make their week. Start the process today. You will be blessed if you do.