Richard was an exceptional thinker, always trying to come up with new ideas and follow in the footsteps of his inventor father. His father was a plantation owner and worked in designing tools and equipment that would aid in farming techniques and ultimate crop success. Richard wanted to be just like his dad.
His first invention was a screw mechanism for propelling watercraft. He did follow his father's desire to help farmers when he invented a new kind of seeder for wheat and rice. His inventions to make existing products better was always on his mind, and he contributed greatly to new designs of bicycles, steam engines, toilets and more.
There was a time when Richard became interested in medicine and decided to go to medical school. He became a doctor but never practiced medicine because of his yearning to keep on inventing. His specialty was anything that involved, planting or harvesting crops. Tools had to be built by hand and used to construct the prototype of whatever he was inventing at the time.
You could say Richard was extremely wealthy with all the new inventions and innovations he had created. The truth is, he did make lots of money, however investing his profits on the next invention, and the next, some of which amounted to nothing, kept him penniless at times.
You know Richard by the invention he came up with in the mid-1800s. He devised a weapon with rotating barrels around a common firing chamber, which would fire about 350 rounds per minute. Later improvements he made to the weapon made it capable of firing 1,200 rounds per minute. You know Richard by the gun that bears his name, Gatling...Richard Jordan Gatling and his Gatling gun. The United States government and governments of numerous foreign countries purchased the guns and used them primarily in some smaller wars, and ultimately for their own national security. In 1911, our government declared the weapon obsolete and ceased using it.
I did some further research on Richard but was unable to find any mention of his religious affiliation, and no mention of any personal relationship with God. While it would have been good to have learned all of that, it isn't the point of my story about Richard.
There is no way to calculate the number of lives he touched with the things he invented which helped everything from farming to construction, and bicycling to steam powered ships and tractors. I readily admit there is no way to calculate the number of lives terminated through the use of the weapons he designed, nor is there a way to calculate the number of lives saved with the military strength his weapons stood for.
I wanted you to see a life that took a God-given talent and utilized it for the benefit of others. In seeing a life like that, I hope we can all come to appreciate the great or small abilities we are given by God, and use the encouragement of Richard's example to do something for the benefit of others. God blesses us in numerous ways. He loves us and desires that we can use the things we are given, to be a blessing to others.