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Electrical engineers aren’t usually considered public celebrities worthy of deep affection.
Charles Proteus Steinmetz (1865 – 1923) was the exception.
At barely four feet tall, he was instantly recognizable. He suffered from kyphosis, an abnormal curvature of the spine which rendered him a hunchback. In the picture above, he’s standing alongside a young Albert Einstein.
When he came to America from his native Prussia (present-day Germany), he Americanized his name. Steinmetz chose “Proteus” because his professors had likened him to that character in Homer’s Odyssey – the wise, cave-dwelling, hunchbacked prophet. He felt it suited him well.
Steinmetz devoted most of his career to the General Electric Company in Schenectady, NY, the “House of Magic” that birthed myriad GE inventions. It’s all too easy to toss around a word like “genius.” But Charlie Steinmetz was a genius. By the end of his career he held over 200 patents.
Steinmetz was a bit like Liam Neeson’s character in Taken. He had “a unique set of skills” that kept him in demand long after his 1902 retirement.
Jack B. Scott, whose father worked at Henry Ford’s River Rouge plant in Dearborn, Michigan, remembers that Ford’s engineers were stymied by a gigantic, malfunctioning generator. The call went out to the Wizard of Schenectady. Would Steinmetz be willing to come to Michigan and see what he could do?
Upon arriving in Dearborn, Steinmetz rejected all offers of assistance. He asked only for a notepad, a pencil, and a cot.
For two days and two nights he listened to the generator and scribbled computations. Then he asked for a ladder. He climbed up the massive generator and made a single chalk mark on its side. Then he instructed Ford’s disbelieving engineers to remove a plate beside the mark and replace 16 windings from the field coil.
When they did so and hit the power switch, the generator returned to full function.
Henry Ford was impressed.
He was less excited, however, when Steinmetz submitted a bill for $10,000, which a century ago was a staggering sum. The notoriously stingy Ford, miffed that Steinmetz had done nothing more than make a single scrawl with a piece of chalk, demanded an itemized invoice.
Here is Steinmetz’s response:
- Making a chalk mark: $1.00
- Knowing where to place it: $9,999.00
Ford paid the bill.
The Holy Spirit is like Charlie Steinmetz.
The Spirit knows precisely where your life is breaking down. Therefore the Spirit knows what truth you need to embrace; what relationship needs to be repaired; what habit you need to abandon; what tipping point will bring you to your knees.
If you ask for the Spirit’s help, don’t be surprised when the Spirit fingers the very place that scares you the most, yet has the power to transform you to the uttermost.
How much does such expert spiritual consultation cost?
The bad news is that you can’t afford it.
The good news is that Someone has already paid the bill.