Mr. Chapman
by PamFord Davis

Is the name John Chapman familiar to you? He was born in the state of Massachusetts in the year 1774 and died in 1845; he later traveled extensively in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. As a young man he worked in orchards learning the craft. He took part in military action under George Washington in New York City, giving him the distinction of service to our fledgling country.

John could be labeled today a bi-vocational preacher. He planted trees in small fenced nurseries and planted seeds of faith, as a preacher in missionary efforts, representing the Church of New Jerusalem. His frugal lifestyle brings to mind John the Baptist, living in a desert, wearing rough clothing and living off the land. John slept outside even during the winter, in frigid temperatures and dressed in tattered clothing. If he acquired new clothing he used the articles to barter for other essentials. He even went bare foot during his travels!

Have I been ringing any bells in your memory yet? Maybe you are more accustomed with John's nick name, that 1806 label, "Johnny Appleseed!"

Tales of his planting apple trees intrigued me as a young girl in central New York State. Our house was directly in front of a small orchard of McIntosh apples, free for the picking. A snack could be reached by children or mothers gathered apples for pies or cobbler. Yes, Johnny was a hero; but I do not recall stories of him sharing the Gospel. The missionary heart sowed seeds of God's word, while his hands planted apple seeds.

What about us? "Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting. He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him (Psalm 126:5-6 NAS)." It is always planting season for a man or woman spreading seeds of faith; start planting!

Devotionals are her first love in writing. Published articles in Mature Living Magazine, Devotions for the Deaf, The Secret Place, Light from the Word, Coosa Journal, With God Daily, Mary Hollingsworth's The One Year Devotional of Joy and Laughter.

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