Palm Tree Gospel

John Williams was dispatched by the London Missionary Society to French Polynesia in the Pacific (@1827). Eventually he died at the hands of cannibals.

He relates one incident where he came across a farmer peasant, named Buteve, who through trauma had lost both his legs. Garden farming was a tedious matter of crawling around with the aid of some rudimentary assist. When assemblies were called by Williams, Buteve could only make it as far as the pathway by his lot, where he would inquire of passers-by as to a song, a scripture or any short message shared.

Williams heard of this simple, devoted man and paid him a visit in which he asked of the nature of his faith exercises:
Answer: “Oh yes, I very frequently pray as I weed my ground and plant my food, but always three times a day, besides praying with my family every morning and evening.”
Question: “What do you say when you pray?”
Answer: “I say, Oh Lord, I am a great sinner; May Jesus take my sins away by His good blood; Give me the righteousness of Jesus to adorn me, and give me the good spirit of Jesus to instruct me and make my heart good, to make me a man of Jesus, and take me to Heaven when I die.” (John Williams, The Martyr Missionary of Polynesia, by James J. Ellis, 1889, S.W. Partridge and Company)

The gardener got it! Simply by prayer, song, bits of scripture, meditation and dialogue. How much other “stuff” seems to occupy our pulpits these days. How many commentaries, testimonies and DVD’s keep us from the purity of this man’s experience of Christ?


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