Farm Collector

Threshing The Wheat From The Chaff

On this morning’s TV ‘TODAY’ Show there was a most
interesting interview of a widow whose missionary husband was
murdered ten years ago by a tribe of wild Peruvian Indians. Several
of these Indians, now peaceful and regretting that murder, were
with her, appearing before Hugh Downs on the NBC show.

It was a most frightening story we read in about LIFE Magazine a
decade ago how several male missionaries were brutally murdered
when they attempted to take the Gospel to this tribe of Indians in
the wilds of Peru. But instead of nurturing vengeance in their
hearts over the loss of their husbands, these hardy, God-fearing
wives journeyed to the very spot where their men were murdered and
proceeded to make contacts for teaching the Gospel of Christian
love after it had been so rudely interrupted. It is said that
‘Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.’ But these women
have proven they were no fools and certainly angels were treading
along at their sides.

‘These Indians were so murderous that, not only did they
kill our missionary husbands, but they were killing each
other,’ the lady missionary explained. ‘After we have been
teaching them the Gospel, they had ceased all killing among
themselves, and they have expressed great remorse in having killed
our husbands.’

There were two male Indians and one of their wives on the
broadcast. The one Indian had become a minister of the Gospel among
his people, aided by his lovely wife. There could be no dialogue
between the Indians and Mr. Downs on the show, save only the
interpretations by means of the American lady missionary who
understood their rare Indian dialect.

‘This tribe was actually being goaded on by their witch and
devil-doctors to search out various homes within their tribe and
killing them off to the point of almost wiping out their
people,’ the missionary explained. ‘Now they are peaceful,
one with another, they have renounced all killing and have taken up
their lives in peaceful Christian living.’

The missionary went on, ‘The tribe, instead of dying out,
has now actually been experiencing a ‘population

To which replied emcee, Hugh Downs, ‘That is one place in
the world where a population explosion is mighty welcome even if it
isn’t anywhere else.’

And to the lady missionary he said, ‘Madame you are a most
remarkable woman.’

Of all of the ‘squares’ and ’rounds’ and misfits
that are interviewed on the TV ‘Today’ Show here was one
individual whose life and faith had shone so brightly in the
world’s darkness that even the very naive and colorless
interviewer, Hugh Downs, friend of the world’s elite, could
refer to her no less terms than being ‘A most remarkable

How many there are who think they must rush to the glitter of
the big city to gain fame and fortune and happiness. If only they
could ‘break through’ on Broadway and have their names
emblazoned on flickering neon marquis, or write some outstanding
novel, or make some world-shaking contribution to science to
somehow perpetuate their ego before society. Yet here was a lady
who did none of these but lost herself in the darkness of the
primeval jungle to bring the love of a Christian Gospel to a wild
tribe who knew nothing but hate and killing. For the murdering of
her husband, she brought kindness, charity and forgiveness. And she
has reaped kindness and charity and love in return. Little did this
kindly woman dream she would some day be called into the plush
offices of NBC and broadcast to the world as ‘A most remarkable
woman.’ But these are the side benefits of living a Christian
life. For Jesus said, ‘He who would lose his life for my sake,
shall gain his own life. Whosoever renounces family and home for my
sake shall reap a hundred-fold in family and both in this life and
the next.’ This ‘most remarkable’ lady had indeed found
a ‘home’ right in the offices of NBC quite as much as she
had found ‘home’ in the darkest jungles of Peru. How many
who seek fame and fortune in the ways of the world can claim this?
Mortals, unwilling to lose pretty goals for greater ones in
Christian service, blinded to God’s plan by pennies before
their eyes, usually find themselves wallowing in the same dead-end
circles at life’s end, as at the beginning. Here was a lonely,
bereaved woman who gave her ‘widow’s mite’ and found
fulfillment and love returning ‘on the waters pressed down,
shaken together and overflowing.’

She preached to no great hordes before the glaring lights of
television cameras as modern evangelism pro-rates personalities and
charisma. She boasted no plush offices with computers to sort the
numbered cards of the saved. She established no name-universities
in lush oil-town suburbia to announce the glory of the Lord in
glittering neon signs. This bereaved young widow chose to ‘lose
her life in order to save it.’ By losing her life in the
primitive, hate-infested jungle, armed with God’s word she also
lost her own feeling for revenge and remorse and, in so doing, she
saved not only her own life but transformed a whole Indian tribe
into the image of Christian love.

‘In renouncing all killing, these Indian people have risen
to a higher social level than nominal (so-called) Christian nations
that have been civilized for centuries and go on killing,’
summed up Mr. Downs. ‘You are indeed a most remarkable

The Bible teaches that ‘the last shall be first, and the
first last.’ Those who come late into God’s grace usually
do something about it and often far outshine those who’ve spent
a lifetime in Christian learning but do little to show it.

God works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform. The life
of a young woman’s husband was sacrificed on a jungle altar
that an entire tribe might be redeemed. Hate and murder have been
transformed into love. Love for one another and love for a widowed
missionary whose work has elevated a nation.

Let us not be discouraged if we can’t all be Billy Grahams,
or widowed missionaries receiving acclaim for redeeming lost
tribes. Everyone is a ministry unto his own right, serving as a
sort of unofficial missionary among his own people and brothers,
whether on the farm, in the city or ghetto, according to the grace
of God within. But the words we say often may be outstripped by the
deeds we do for others.

We are often reminded in scripture that cleanliness is next to
godliness. A good steam engineer is one who keeps his engine clean
and is constantly working on it to keep it in perfect running
order. These are the kind of engineers Iron-Men, if you please who
make the steam engine reunions a pleasure to attend.

The human body is like a steam engine. It of tens needs grooming
and mechanical rehabilitation in order to make it perform as its
Designer intended. I have often had to indulge in exercise or some
form of ‘re-education’ or personal training in order to
keep my entire anatomy functioning. By so doing, I feel we are
performing a Divine service, for the body is the temple wherein
resides the spirit. But unlike working on an engine, instead of
replacing a part here or there, we- must make what physical parts
we have keep going. Sometimes that means jogging up a game leg,
exercising the muscles of a eye, putting the old spine in
proper line, brushing the scalp to retain what hair we have, or
even dancing the hula to keep the ‘rear deck’ from bogging
down. Exercising under proper guidance, eating healthful foods, and
using Nature’s herbs can work wonders in keeping the fire-box
a-glow in the human engine.

A mother wrote recently that her teenage son was so despondent
and sensitive because his one arm was half an inch shorter than the
other. Whenever the human body has a weak member, the rule of the
thumb is that it should be exercised more. I’ve never tried to
compare lengths of my arms, but 111 wager if I did, I’d find
one slightly longer than the other. Nature never makes two things
alike, even on the same body. Nature is a constant variant. She
does not make human parts on factory jigs, like we human builders
do. She merely grows them. No two sides of a face are the same.
Everyone has a good side and a bad side. The great actor, John
Barrymore was supposed to be so handsome that he was known as
‘The Profile’ on the screen. Yet of himself he once
remarked, ‘One side of my face I am ‘The Profile,’ but
the other side looks like a baked mackerel.’

Once in a while, if my wife happens to be in a particularly good
mood, she has been heard to say to me ‘You look rather
distinguished this evening.’ But if she’d been sitting on
the opposite of me she’d more likely be thinking how
‘extinguished’ I looked. For on that side I was probably
looking more like the Hunchback of Notre Dame than anything
distinguished. Our cat is the only member of our family that looks
intelligent from all angles. (But don’t tell the wife.)

For years I was quite embarrassed over my eyes, having one good
eye, and one weak eye. But after reading much into the subject of
eyes, I soon learned that everyone has a so-called ‘lead’
eye, while the other eye is weaker and only helps the
‘lead’ eye. When I became aware of that fact, I soon
learned to lose my sensitiveness among society. I felt I was more
normal than I had realized.

Every boxer leads out with his stronger arm. The other arm only
comes in to back up what the stronger arm is doing. Usually a
right-armed individual has a stronger right eye, which leads the
weaker eye, as the right arm leads for the weaker arm and vice
versa. Many outstanding athletes have overcome great physical
handicaps which became the driving force to victory.

In marriage we have the same condition. For centuries the man
has been dominant in the human family. The wife has been his
help-mate. That doesn’t mean the wife is weak or unimportant.
Just watch a man trying to ‘batch it’ while his wife has
left to visit a few weeks with her mother and you 11 know what I
mean. Dishes stack up in the kitchen sink, the bachelor lives on
soup for days on end, watering it down the longer the wife is away.
What a miserable mess a man can get in without the woman of the
house. What a miserable fighter a right-armed boxer would be in the
ring without that most important left arm to help the stronger arm.
How terrible the one-eyed driver can be without the weaker eye to
help the stronger.

If I were a teenage lad I’d forget about one arm being
shorter than the other arm. I’d start out leading with that
weaker arm. It will soon gain some length. A teenager can do
anything to improve his body. He is still growing, after all. And
don’t forget this the future belongs to the young. (But
don’t tell them that yet.)

I’d say that getting a leather punching bag and having a few
good daily rounds of punching it with the shorter arm what
wonderful exercise that would be, and how beneficial toward
equalizing any discrepancy in the shorter arm. (Farmers’ arms
always seemed to get long around a threshermen’s dinner.)

We are put here as God’s stewards over the body He has given
us. We take what is given us. For that we cannot be judged. What we
will be judged for is what we do with our bodies once we get them.
And if we do wisely and rightly, we can do wonders not fearing the

As for me, I’ve learned to live with my physical
shortcomings. Devising ways to overcome them lends character and
strength even a certain joy, like playing a game to outwit Nature.
I don’t envy the ‘perfect human specimen’ with bulging
biceps and 20-20 vision. Like scaling a mountain the fun is in
climbing, not sitting on top.

  • Published on May 1, 1971
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