Wednesday, April 1, 2020

All Aboard!

By David A. Sargent

    In 1891, the directors of the World’s Columbian Exposition issued a challenge to American engineers to design a monument for the Exposition that would rival the Eiffel Tower, the centerpiece of the 1889 Paris Exposition. The planners wanted something “original, daring and unique.”
    George Washing Gale Ferris, Jr., a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, bridge-builder, had an idea that he shared with the directors of the Exposition which was to be held in Chicago, Illinois, in 1893. Ferris, who also founded G.W.G. Ferris & Co. – a firm that tested and inspected metals for railroads and bridges, wanted to build a giant steel wheel from which passengers would be able to view the entire exhibition. The Exhibition planners feared that his design for a huge rotating wheel towering over the grounds would not be safe.
    But Ferris persisted. He was able to obtain some endorsements from several established engineers. He also secured the backing of several local investors to cover the $400,000 cost of construction. The committee agreed to allow Ferris to construct the wheel.
    When construction was completed, the Ferris Wheel stood with a height of 264 ft. It had 36 cars, each fitted with 40 revolving chairs and able to accommodate up to 60 people. This gave the Wheel a total capacity of 2,160. Now it was ready for passengers. But who would be the first to ride the monstrous rotating wheel of steel?
    Ferris invited a newspaper reporter to accompany him and his wife for the inaugural ride. It was a windy July day and a stiff breeze struck the wheel with great force as it slowly began its rotation. Despite the wind, the wheel turned flawlessly. After one revolution, Ferris called for the machine to be stopped so that he, his wife, and the reporter could step out. The evidence was in: the Ferris Wheel was safe for passengers.
    The Ferris Wheel was opened to the public on June 21, 1893. In its operation, the Wheel carried some 38,000 passengers daily and took 20 minutes (including stops) to complete two revolutions. Passengers paid 50 cents to ride the wheel. *
    Consider the following application: In braving that one revolution on the windblown Ferris wheel, the initial occupants demonstrated genuine faith. Mr. Ferris began with the scientific knowledge that the machine would work and that it would be safe. What motivated the reporter and Mrs. Ferris to ride the Wheel? It must have been that they trusted in what the inventor had said. And, they trusted him enough to put their faith into action and ride and the reporter believed the machine would work on the basis of what the inventor had said.
Perhaps Mrs. Ferris also knew that because of her husband’s love for her that he would never allow her to do something that was unsafe.
    God is looking for that kind of faith! He has stated that He wants all people to be saved from sin and the destruction to which it leads (1 Timothy 2:4). He has made provision for our salvation and demonstrated His great love for us by giving His own Son to die on the cross for our sins so that we might have forgiveness and receive the gift of eternal life (John 3:16).
    He has promised that if we will place our faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from our sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Him before men (Romans 10:9-10), and be baptized (immersed) into Christ, that He will forgive us and give us an eternal home in heaven. He has promised that if we will continue to follow His Word faithfully, that He will continue to cleanse us from sin (1 John 1:7).
    Will YOU believe what He says in His Word? Will YOU trust that He loves you dearly? Will YOU trust His promises?
    Will YOU trust Him enough to “get on board” and do what He says?

- David A. Sargent, minister for the Church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled "Living Water."  To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website:

* Information gleaned from and

No comments:

Post a Comment