Indian Joe

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 6
Joe was an Indian, an Indian with a very bad character, so bad that a price was set upon his head for the murders and outrages he had committed.
Fighting had been his delight; but the neighborhood having become too hot for him, he determined to go to a far distant tribe. A company of missionaries happened to be passing the place where he was, and Joe volunteered as driver of one of their wagons since they were going far away to the country of the Cree Indians.
However, being in the company of Christians did not make Joe a saint. He hated religion! Whenever he saw a hymn book he would scowl at it as if it were a serpent. Of the Bible he had even a greater disdain, and when one was being read he would get out of ear-shot. On the Lord's Day, not being required to drive, he would go off with his gun and spend the hours in shooting what game he could find, so that he might be well out of hearing of the Word of God.
As the party pursued their way, in the middle of July there came a Sunday so hot that even Joe did not care to take his usual ramble. He laid himself down in the shadow of one of the wagons, artfully selecting that of a missionary who was not expected to conduct the service.
Joe had made a mistake. The preacher whose turn it was to preach was so overcome by the heat that he had to be excused; and the owner of the wagon under whose shadow Joe was sheltering offered to take his place. Hence the little company gathered about the wagon, and the meeting began.
Joe was lying on the long grass underneath, half asleep, and was furious at being thus disturbed. To lie still while hymns were being sung, and to see the hated Bible opened, was too much for him. He would move. Rising to his feet, he stretched himself and started off. But the heat was great, and Joe was too lazy for locomotion. He again threw himself upon the grass; and there he lay, full length upon his back, right in front of the preacher, his angry eyes flashing defiance at him.
"Lord, help me to preach to Joe," prayed the man of God inwardly, as he saw the opportunity before him. Forgetting everybody else, in simple speech he set forth the love of God to all His creatures. He told his hearers that though God gave them rain and sunshine, flesh and fowl, corn and fruit, yet they did not love Him in return. Indeed, instead of loving Him, they hated Him, His servants, and His Book. But did He send the lightning to strike them down for their enmity? No, He had given His Son to die, so, as to put away their sins. He had shown His love to them, to the worst of them, even to the murderers, and if they would only believe in His Son, He would forgive them and make them His dear children.
Soon Joe's eyes were fixed earnestly on the speaker, who as he went on, watched the anger fading out of them. Was the Holy Spirit casting out the evil spirit of rebellion from the Indian? God says, "My word... shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." Isa. 55:1111So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11).
Joe did not forget that sermon. One day, walking beside another missionary, he said: "Didn't the preacher tell awful lies that hot Sunday?"
"Lies, Joe? I did not hear any."
"He said the Great Spirit loved poor wicked Indians. Wasn't that a lie?"
"Not at all, Joe; it is in the Book. 'God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins."' Eph. 2:4, 54But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) (Ephesians 2:4‑5).
"But was not that an awful lie, that the Great Father gave His Son?"
"No, Joe, it is in the Book. 'In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins."' 1 John 4:9,109In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:9‑10).
Then Joe said: "But it must be a lie, that He was preparing the beautiful country for them."
"No," was the answer. "That too is blessedly true. It is in the Book. Jesus, the Son of God, said to sinful men, whom He loved, and had saved, 'I go to prepare a place for you."' John 14:22In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (John 14:2).
Such love as this was a new thing to the wicked heart of Indian Joe. It penetrated the hard shell of his evil nature and created in him a longing to learn more of the love which passeth knowledge. When they reached the mission station, Joe refused to go further, preferring to serve the missionaries, who delighted in his changed attitude. Listening to the now-precious Word of God, Joe received the Lord Jesus as his Savior and rejoiced to follow the way of peace.
"Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them." Heb. 7:2525Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25).