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This week’s illustration

Finding Jesus While Looking for Something Else

On April 6, 1932, at DuPont’s Jackson Laboratory in Deepwater, New Jersey, Roy J. Plunkett set to work on his first assignment with the company — working with refrigerator gasses. One of those gasses was Freon, regularly used in refrigerators. Plunkett and his assistant Jack Rebok were testing the gas under various conditions when they made a mistake in their procedures. Consequently, when they opened a cylinder of the gas, it did not discharge as they expected. They set that cylinder aside.

Later, Plunkett thought to himself that the cylinder seemed much heavier than it should be. He wondered if it would explode. Ignoring caution and taking a chance, he opened it — and discovered a solid white substance inside. What could it be?

The more Plunkett tested the substance, the more surprised he was by its properties. It didn’t react with other chemicals. It retained its properties whether subjected to 500 degrees below zero or 400 above. Vacuum had no effect — which meant it would be perfect, he realized, for use in an outer–space environment. It also refused to stick to anything. It was polytetrafluorethylene (PTEE) — which would come to be known as Teflon. Since its discovery, over two–and–a–half billion pounds of it have been sold. It’s been used to keep the Statue of Liberty from rusting, in cardiac medicine to coat electrical wires, in light bulbs and, of course, in pots and pans because of its no–stick qualities. Plunkett later admitted he'd been lucky — the stuff could have exploded with disastrous effect. But while looking for one thing, he had discovered something else — something much better.

Some people have found Jesus by a similar means. While looking for happiness, peace, forgiveness, contentment or some other life–easing property, they have found Jesus and received the rest as well.

 
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