“How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” Luke 10:38 (NKJV)
By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”
When I was in the second grade, my class read a story about Johnny Appleseed. After that, I wanted to learn all I could about Johnny Appleseed. More than that, I wanted to be Johnny Appleseed.
I must have told some of my friends about my wish, because I remember them ribbing me about it on the playground. I can still hear them as they would come up behind me and sing at the top of their lungs, “JOHNNY CASH….PLANTS POISON APPLES!” You might think this is the sort of thing people go into counseling for when they’re grown or weep about on the Montel Williams Show. But, really, I appreciated their teasing and it always made me laugh. You see, they understood my love for Johnny Appleseed. They knew it would be cool to be Johnny Appleseed, but their joke was that if I had the opportunity to become him I would just louse it up.
It surprises some people that Johnny Appleseed was a genuine historical figure. His real name was John Chapman, and he did go from place to place planting apple trees, many in places were there were no apple trees before. He wore cast-off clothing and was a Christian missionary. Most of the paintings of him depict him as carrying a Bible, having a leather bag of apple seeds slung over his shoulder, and wearing a cooking pot on his head for a hat.
Forty years have passed by since I was in the second grade, but I still have a special place in my heart for John Chapman. Here are some reasons I think we would be wise to imitate his life:
1. He lived a life of simplicity. Why have both a hat and cookware when your cooking pan will protect your head from the elements during the day, and you can take it off and use it to heat a can of Spaghetti-O’s at night? Our culture says that more is always better, but when it comes down to it, the opposite is often true. Physical clutter and emotional, spiritual baggage drain us of our vitality. Clean up, clean out, de-junk, forgive, forget, and live better. Less is more. Simplicity is elegance.
2. He took the Lord with him always. We are foolish when we think God is not acting in our best interests and when we think we’ll be happier doing things our way instead of His. It didn’t work for Adam and Eve, and it won’t work for us. God’s way is the best way.
3. He went about doing good. He planted apple trees everywhere he went. Now, that is a relatively small thing in the vast scheme of things, but what if everyone had a holy obsession? What a wonderful place this earth would become!
As you begin this new week, remember Johnny Appleseed, and follow the example of our Saviour, Jesus. “He went about doing good.”
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad” (Sing that to the title to the tune of “Secret Agent Man) He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and is beginning his third decade of being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 17) and Seth (age 14) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church, where they quite often make a pan of apple dumplings (using Tom Rockwood’s wonderful recipe). You can cheer him with a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.