Throughout his life, Gregor Johann Mendel (1822-84) went un-noticed and un-appreciated. He was a brilliant student, but too poor to afford college. So he entered the Augustinian Monastery for an education. When he wanted to teach at the University of Vienna, he was rejected. Three times he failed the entrance exam – not because of incompetence, but due to originality of thought. In fact, his examiner completely misunderstood him and concluded that Gregor Mendel lacked scientific “insight and the required clarity of knowledge.” So Gregor was consigned to teaching science in high school. But he continued with his own experiments and observations of plants.
Then, after completing his seven-year-long pioneering experiments on heredity, he sent his results to a Swiss botanist. He received an icy rejection of his work. When he finally published his findings in Experiments with Plant Hybrids in 1866, no one noticed or seemed to care. The truth was that Mendel was ahead of his peers. It took thirty-four years for the scientific community to “catch up.” They did not recognize the significance of his work until sixteen years after his death. Today, Gregor Mendel’s theories on heredity are foundational and he is universally recognized as the “Father of Modern Genetics.”
Gregor Mendel went through life un-noticed and un-appreciated, and went to his death having no idea how life’s work would impact science.
In the same way most of us live our lives in obscurity. We may have no idea of the profound legacy we’ll leave behind. Therefore, we should never judge our lives a failure based on the apparent success or failure of our efforts in this life. In fact, the Scripture tells us not to pass judgment on our own lives or on anyone else’s prematurely. For not until the day of eternity will God bring to light the quality of our life’s work and the hidden impact it has had on others (1 Corinthians 4:5).
Dear Father in heaven, help me to do my best to do my duty and to leave failure, success and recognition in your hands. Amen.
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