God Wants Us To Meet Pressing Needs

If you go to the state of Idaho today, the U. S. Forest Service has identified and marked some of the trails Lewis and Clark traveled in 1803 – 1804. The trails were created thousands of years before Lewis and Clark, by the Native Americans traveling to the buffalo hunting grounds and back. It was in these mountains that Lewis and his men were close to starvation. Lewis sent a small advance party ahead of the main group on foot, hoping to find an Indian tribe that had food. As the advance party emerged from the mountains onto the prairie, they surprised a Nez Perce foraging party, consisting of mainly women, children and older men. They were digging camas roots for food.

The Indians were startled by the strangers. Though they had heard of the white man from other tribes, they had never seen one and these strangers did not look white. The Americans were very dark due to sunburns, had full straggly beards. They were dirty, stinky men dressed in strange clothing with things on their heads (hats), and spoke words they did not understand. They later stated that initially they thought the Americans were a form of wild dog.

After the initial meeting was over and the tribe had fed the party camas roots and dried fish, Lewis’ men made their camp for the night outside the village. The unusual food made all the men sick. The Indians meanwhile convened a tribal meeting to decide what to do with the strangers. It was agreed that they would kill Lewis and all of his men.

Nez Perce tradition says the reason they decided to kill the men was because the tribe had recently sent a peace delegation to the Shoshones to establish friendly relations, but the peace overtures were rejected and the entire delegation was killed. When Lewis and his group showed up, they had with them a female Shoshone guide, Sacajawea. The Nez Perce were afraid this group was a Shoshone Trojan horse to destroy their village.

An Indian woman named, Watkuweis, whose name means “Returns from a Far Land”, objected. She had been kidnapped by the Minitarries tribe and taken north, eventually ending up in the Great Lakes area where she saw white people. After being the slave of a white man, she escaped and was given supplies and a horse by kind white people, which allowed her to eventually reach her Idaho tribe.

She told the group that it would be wrong to kill these strangers, because they were good people like the ones who had helped her to escape.

Due to the kindness shown this poor woman, by white strangers who had nothing to gain by helping her, the Nez Perce spared the lives of Lewis, Clark and the twenty members of the Corp.

We do not know if these white people where Christians or not but, at a minimum, I believe they had been influenced by Christian teaching or culture. The wilderness was a tough place to live and a wicked person would definitely not have a problem with making someone his slave to share some of the tasks.

The point is, they helped save the life of this poor, abused, lonely woman and later, their kind, unselfish, deed was multiplied at least 22 times by saving the lives of the expedition members. These people never knew their kindness saved Lewis and his men.

As born again people, our Heavenly Father, has given us instructions through Paul about good deeds:

“Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful.” Titus 3:14 NASB

Paul says again to Titus:

“This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.” Titus 3:8 NASB

Therefore, let this true story encourage us to “engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs”. We may never know what fruit is borne in other’s lives because of our compassion. But, there is coming a day when all shall be revealed and we will know the whole story.

Before you and I were saved, God had already prepared good deeds for us to engage in.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 NASB

And Lord Jesus said;

“By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” John 15:8

May your, “walking in good works”, bring joy to you and to the Lord. At the same time, we will be glorifying our Father in heaven! Blessings upon you.

Thank you for your time,

Carl

“Travel, Travel, Travel

In 1803 President Thomas Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark and a Corps of men to follow the Missouri River westward hoping to find an overland route to the Pacific Ocean. Their successful two year trip opened the West to trappers and the westward migration of America.

Several years after their trip, seven native Americans (aka Indians) showed up in St. Louis, MO seeking Bibles. They had learned about the Bible from the Christians in the Lewis and Clark expedition. The native Americans attributed the white man’s “power” (technological advances), to this mysterious book.  Clark was able to provide the Indians with Bibles, but unfortunately they all died prior to returning to their tribes.

When word reached the churches in the East about these Indians wanting Bibles, there arose a missionary zeal to evangelize the western Indians. In July, 1836, missionaries Marcus and Narcissa Whitman and Henry and Eliza Spalding attended a trapper’s rendevous on the Green River, where they were paired with western tribes.

Whitman settled in what is now southeastern Washington state among the Cayuse and Nez Perce tribes, six miles from Walla Walla. Years later, Whitman found it necessary to return by horse to the east coast to address mission matters. This was at the same time the wagon trains were beginning to make their way westward to Oregon, California and Washington. While in the east, Whitman was sought out by the wagon train leaders for his experience traversing the wilderness. Of course, the leader’s greatest concern was how to deal with the Indians they would encounter, but Whitman had more important instructions for them.

“Travel, travel, travel; nothing else will take you to the end of your journey; nothing is wise that does not help you along; nothing is good for you that causes a moment delay.” “A day spent enjoying prairie flowers may cost you your life in the snow covered mountains.” Marcus Whitman

There is wisdom here for we Christians.  It is this:

No matter what happens in your life,  keep traveling on toward your new heavenly home. Do not let any trial stop you.

When someone died on the wagon trains, some would bury the dead at night in the wagon path, so the grave would not be noticeable to the ever watching Indians. They did not spend days in mourning or have a proper funeral.

The pioneers had to keep the big picture in mind.  They had a very long way to go by foot, horse, mule and wagon. It was up to them to keep moving and not focus on the loss or they could experienced a far greater loss of life.

In our Christian walk, we may experience the “death” of many things:

  • Maybe the premature death of a career;
  • Maybe the future we envisioned will have to die;
  • Maybe our self-image will die due to revelations from God’s Word;
  • Future plans for our children may have to die, due to unforeseen problems;
  • Maybe we lose a loved one to some seemingly unfair disease or tragedy;
  • We may experience a loss of our health or our spouses health;
  • Our finances may tank and we find ourselves in financial straits;
  • Some may experience the death of friendships they highly value;
  • It may be physical torture, imprisonment or death for our Christian faith.

Whatever the “death” or hardship may be, we need to keep the big picture in mind. We are just a pilgrims passing through the devil’s kingdom, on the way to the heavenly Jerusalem. Keep trusting in Jesus and His Word.  Keep pressing on in Him, until you arrive in His physical Presence.  He said He would never leave or forsake us. The Comforter is always with us.

In closing, I am reminded of an elderly sister in the Lord, who lived in communist Lithuania. She had a chronic disease that paralyzed her total body except for one finger.   The secret police never searched her home due to her condition.  She used this safe setting to translate Christian books from U.S. and western Europe into her mother tongue, for her fellow countrymen.  She typed them out one letter at a time with that one finger that was not paralyzed.  She had experienced the “death” of her health but she kept pressing on in her Lord and as a result, was a tremendous blessing to her brother and sisters-in-Christ under the yoke of atheistic communism.

Let us keep pressing on in spite of whatever comes our way. We do not know what the future holds, but we do know Who holds the future and has us in His hands.

In addition, let us be sensitive to the needs of our brothers and sisters who are going through trials and the valley of death.  Paul said we should consider others more important than ourselves. Let the words of Hebrews 3:13 direct us:

“…encourage one another day after day as long as it is still called “Today”…”

To “encourage” someone means to “to give courage; the attitude or response of facing and dealing with anything recognized as dangerous, difficult or painful, instead of withdrawing from it”  (Webster). Lovingly give courage to them that are going through trials and the valley of death.

Peace to all,

Carl