William Jennings Bryan and a Watermelon

The following passage is attributed on several sites and in many publications to the 41st United States Secretary of State, William Jennings Bryan. I first ran across this article in a Centerpoint Church of Christ bulletin in 1986. I found it the other day while looking through some old files. I find it to be a great apologetic and a lesson of God’s grace from an observation of a watermelon.

I was passing through Columbus, Ohio, some years ago and stopped to eat in the restaurant in the depot. My attention was called to a slice of watermelon, and I ordered it and ate it. I was so pleased with the melon that I asked the waiter to dry some of the seeds that I might take them home and plant them in my garden. That night a thought came into my head. I would use that watermelon as an illustration.

So, the next morning when I reached Chicago, I had enough seeds weighed to find that it would take about five thousand watermelon seeds to weigh a pound and I estimated that the watermelon weighed about forty pounds. Then I applied mathematics to the watermelon.

A few weeks before, someone, I know not who, had planted a little seed in the ground. Under the influence of sunshine and showers that little watermelon seed had taken off its coat and gone to work; it had gathered from somewhere two hundred thousand times its own weight and forced that enormous weight through a tiny stem and built a watermelon. On the outside it had put a covering of green, within that a rind of white, and within that a core of red, and then scattered through the red little seeds, each capable of doing the same work over again.

Where did that little watermelon seed get its tremendous strength? Where did it find its flavoring extract and its coloring matter? How did it build a watermelon?

Until you can explain a watermelon, do not be too sure that you can set limits to the power of the Almighty or tell just how He would do it. The most learned man in the world cannot explain a watermelon, but the most ignorant man can eat a watermelon and enjoy it.

God has given us the things that we need and He has given us the knowledge necessary to use those things, and the truth that He has revealed to us is infinitely more important for our welfare than it would be to understand the mysteries that He has seen fit to conceal from us.

So with Christianity; if you ask me if I can understand everything in the Bible, I answer “No.” I understand some things today that I did not understand ten years ago and if I live ten years longer, I hope some things will be clear that are now obscure. But there is something more important than understanding everything in the Bible – it is this: if we will only try to live up to the things we do understand, we shall not have to worry about the things we do not understand.

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