One of the most important qualities of a servant of God involved with helping to fulfill the Great Commission is that of focus. Many Christians become sidetracked with the cares and consequences of materialism and other selfish interests.
The story of two missionary families who settled in the Oregon Territory in 1836 to evangelize the Cayuse and Nez Perce Indians offers a poignant example.
Heading for Oregon in the spring of 1836, they eagerly looked forward to converting the American Indians. Once in Oregon, the Whitmans settled in a lush green valley and home of the Cayuse tribe. The Spauldings located among the Nez Perce tribe, in a bleak and dry mountainous area.
Once settled, the Whitmans and Spauldings began their missions work. In time, however, the Whitmans neglected their calling and became prosperous farmers. The well-cultivated fields of their plantation lay in stark contrast to the humble mission of the Spauldings.
Consumed by the needs of white immigrants, Marcus Whitman sold produce to them as they passed through. His wife, Narcissa, lost the excitement and zeal she initially had for Indian missions and became moody and depressed. Although Marcus worked sacrificially among the Indians as minister and doctor, they resented his prosperity. Even when he tried to help the Cayuse when a plague ravished their villages, they believed he was purposely poisoning them.
Finally, one dreary November afternoon in 1847 the Indians attacked the Whitman plantation and massacred 14 of the 72 people living there. Marcus and Narcissa were among the casualties.
Henry Spaulding, meanwhile, had established a thriving church among the Nez Perce. His wife, Eliza, ran a school for the children and made hand-painted books and translated hymns into their language. Despite opposition to their ministry, they reaped a harvest of souls.
As a result of the massacre, however, American troops ordered all missionaries out of the territory. Henry Spaulding was unable to return to his mission until 24 years later. But his labors among the Indians began to bear fruit, soon resulting in revival. A training school was established and eventually the Nez Perce began evangelizing other Indian tribes.
A faithful steward will not stray from his call. Instead, he will invest the resources God has given him wisely and generously for the expansion of the kingdom.
Yours for fulfilling the Great Commission each year until our Lord returns,
The late Dr. Bill Bright was Founder and President/Chairman Emeritus of Campus Crusade for Christ, an organization which began as a campus ministry in 1951 and now has more than 27,000 full-time staff and up to 500,000 trained volunteer staff in 196 countries in areas representing 99.6 percent of the world's population. In the past 50 years, Campus Crusade for Christ has seen approximately 6 billion exposures to the gospel worldwide. The film, "JESUS," which Bright conceived and funded through Campus Crusade for Christ, is the most widely translated and viewed film of any type ever produced. Since its use began in 1980, the film has been translated into 839 languages and viewed or listened to by over 5.7 billion people in 228 countries. Dr. Bright was also the author of more than fifty books. Visit campuscrusade.com for more details
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