It was a quiet morning in New London, TX back in 1937. An amazing new school had just been built at a cost of $1 million dollars. Even in the midst of the Great Depression, money was flowing in Rusk County because of newfound oil reserves. However to save money, the school board decided to drop their contract with United Gas Company and instead began to use a residue gas line from a local company. The oil companies would typically flare off this waste gas. However, during this time, it was a common money saving practice for certain buildings to use this gas as a substitute.
Apparently the odorless and undetectable natural gas leaked from the connection of the residue line and made its way into the crawl space that ran the length of the school. The gas built up until a spark ignited the gas and an explosion left behind a collapsed building, as many as 295 deaths and thousands of injuries. As a result of the disaster, the United States now mandates that any combustible gas must contain an odorant (usually mercaptan) to warn people of its presence. This additive smells like rotten eggs but has saved many lives over the past century as it warned of impending danger.
This works well as an illustration of the conscience. While many people look to Bible teaching as instruction about “rule following” or a list of what “I can or cannot do,” it is valuable to see Scripture’s commandments as a way to guard our hearts and minds from danger. Millions of people on this earth are headed to an unhappy eternity because they do not know the warnings and instructions of God’s Word. While they may be sincere and even religious, their lack of education has placed them in danger. As we learn God’s Word and develop good habits, we will have our conscience trained to detect danger and to keep us from the evil one.
“To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled.” Titus 1:15