Born in Des Moines, Iowa, he later moved to Davenport as a child, and eventually entered the Illinois College of Optometry. After graduation he became a jeweler in St. Joseph, Missouri. But he always had the dream of a machine that could slice warm bread. Everyone told him he was crazy and no one took him seriously. But he never let go of his dream, working at it in his spare time, even building a small factory. One day his factory burned down, destroying both the prototype and the blueprints for his invention; his idea was put off yet again. Finally, he came up with another prototype, a machine that would slice bread straight out of the oven without squashing it. But no one would buy the machine. They didn't believe it would work.
Finally, Frank Bench, the owner of the Chillicothe Baking Company in Chillicothe, Missouri, ordered one of the machines. He sold his first loaf of sliced bread on July 7, 1928. His bread sales increased 1000% in just two weeks. Word spread and orders came in from across the country for Rohwedder's machine. He had changed bread baking. In fact, in 1943, President Roosevelt tried to ration sliced bread. A vocal rebellion among homemakers changed his plan. In 1951, comedian Red Skelton coined the phrase, "The best thing since sliced bread," showing just how momentous this invention was—the phrase has stuck since then.
Indeed, change can be momentous, especially a change in thinking. In ancient times, most people did their best to stay out of the limelight, avoiding anything that might make the gods notice them. Gods, to the pagans, were beings who had no love for mortals and played with them like a cat with a mouse—just before pouncing for the kill. So no one wished to be noticed by the gods. In fact, the best life you could hope for was not to be noticed by the gods.
Then along came people like the apostle Paul, teaching them about a God who actually cared about them. A God who loved them and wanted to help them and even be with them forever. A God who would send His Son to die so all of those things could happen. Is it any wonder that they flocked to hear about Him? A God who would do this for you, and who promised you would live with Him in glory for Eternity, was a God worth devoting yourself to, spending your life serving, and even dying for. And many did, in some truly horrible ways.
To the Jews He was presented as a God who kept His promises to their father Abraham, and who would bring a kingdom that lasted forever and which no earthly kingdom could destroy. And His Son, the promised Messiah, also died for a covenant that meant no more Day of Atonement, no more daily sacrifices, no more Passover, because, "Your sins I will remember no more." No more weight of guilt in your life—another momentous change.
And our grandmothers thought sliced bread was great? Sliced bread shouldn't even be mentioned in the same breath as our God. He can change your life in ways you never thought possible, and loves you far more than you deserve. …remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me (Isa 46:9).
For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom 5:7-8).