Thursday, November 8, 2012
JEDEDIAH SMITH AND ME
Jedediah Smith has been one of my historic heroes for some time. The reason? Even though he was a mountain man, mixed in with piles of less-than-righteous explorers and hunters, he focused on the Lord. He was seen with a Bible, was known as pious and very straight. He refused to have any sexual relations. He didn't drink or smoke. Rarely had a sense of humor that fit in with the rest of the guys. He didn't cuss. He did what he thought was his leading by the Lord. And he was all over the west portion of our country. He was going over hills, around rivers and lakes, imprisoned in California [since he was considered an invader], and chased by a variety of civilizations. He drew maps and put pieces together for the future members who would be hitting the trails to expand the U.S. territories.
Was he perfect in terms of how we would recognize conflicting cultural issues today? No. But, if nothing else, he was young-ish -- 23 when he began to travel and 32 when he was murdered. Yet he did more in that short time than most of us could even imagine doing in our present days... and we've got cars to drive, good solid roadways, cell phones that help us contact others if we are in any kind of need, and credit cards if we are out of cash. He [and the others who were hunters, fur traders, trappers, explorers] had very little on a regular basis. Yet, they accomplished so much that prepared our future. Some good, some evil... but much done.
I have a book about him called "Men Against the Mountains" that was published in 1965. Interesting. Well written.
When traveling across Montana this post is in a rest area and I've seen it a number of times. And, considering the mountains, the rivers, the hills, the boulders, the winter storms [with strong wind, ice, and piles of snow], the conflicts, the danger of being attacked by animals [which often occurred] and having a lack of helpfulness -- no doctors, hospitals or clinics -- I'm always amazed that he and the others made it.
The only bit I would like to see on these history posts was his Methodist faith, which was very strong and intensely focused on worshiping and serving the Lord. Back in those years, the denomination was fairly new and very missions-oriented. Jedediah fit into it quite well.
When I was wondering what I could share today, when looking through my hundreds of photos from the trip, this jumped out at me. Not filled with easy sweetness and light, but a good reminder of what was done for us to spread out and prepare as a nation.
... And, in my heart, how we as individuals and families can step out to serve the Lord in ways that will reach out and plant seed into the lives of those nearby and far away. That's one of my main goals of life. Has been for years. Will be forever.