“Now,” Cody went on, “Doing it well has to do with starting with good motives. What good motive could you have to oppose
Dodge and his threats?”
“Hmmm,” replied John, obviously at a loss to answer. He was surprised at the turn the conversation had taken–and somewhat frustrated with it, too. Cody could see the anger rising in him.
“What gives you the right to challenge me on this?” John asked. “You just ride in here and tell me what to do!”
“As you may have noticed, I didn’t just ride in here, I brought your boy back,” Cody replied gently. “And I don’t have a right to tell you what to do, but I can, out of good will, help you to think things through and find a way out of this dangerous situation.”
John looked at the ground and was quiet for a minute. “Alright, I don’t have much choice. As it is, there’s no way I can fight off Dodge and his men.”
“So,” Cody said, “let’s get back to your motives, John. What good motives can you have for taking a stand?”
John thought for a while, setting the butt of his rifle on the ground. “Well, how about establishing a home for my family?”
“Yes, that’s a good one. Do you have a wife, John?”
“Yes. She’s in the house making lunch.”
“What motive of yours would concern her?”
“To protect her,” John replied immediately.
“Good, now you have two positive motives. How about a wider one, encompassing more than your own spread here?”
“What do you mean?” John asked.
“Think about the future of this country, about the other people that will come.”
“Ok, how about this: make it possible for other settlers to come and raise their families?”
“Good, very good! What about Dodge? What motive could you have for him?”
“I’d like to push him off his ranch and out of the area!” John said vehemently.
“Really? Is that a positive motive?”
“Well, I guess not,” replied John. He was quiet for a moment, looking off across the prairie at the mountains in the distance. “I want to have peace with him, allow him his way of life while he lets me have mine.”
“Now, that’s a really fine motive; it could bring about a very different solution than shooting down those who oppose you,” Cody said.
Just then John’s wife appeared in the door of their cabin and called them to lunch. John turned to his guest, “Will you join us, Cody? I’d like to hear more about this Heavenly Wisdom and how we can deal with Dodge.”
Amanda already had the food on the table when they came in: antelope stakes, fresh bread and some greens collected by the river. John and Sam sat in their places, and Amanda said to
Cody, “Sit there at the end of the table.”
“Sure is good to have a home cooked meal,” said Cody as he dug into the meat and bread. “Eating jerky and nothing else on the trail does get old.”
“I’m glad you could join us, Mr. Cody, and thank you so much for bringing Sam back!” Amanda said.
“Glad to help,” replied Cody.
“So, Mr. Cody,” said Sam, “tell us more about this Heavenly
Wisdom; I’ve never heard of it.”
“No surprise, boy, not many people pay attention to it. It’s very different from normal human thinking. It’s God’s thinking, which is usually the opposite of natural thinking.
“How many people do you know take the time to examine their motives before acting? Most folks don’t give them a thought, just react to whatever comes. That’s why so many people have gotten shot in pointless gun fights here in the west. Me, I’d rather talk it through than pull out my gun.
“Here’s another fact from the Bible that influences our motives. It says in Ephesians 6 that ‘we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual wickedness in heavenly places.’ That means our actual enemy is not people but the Devil.
“He consistently uses people against us, so if we just fight people, the Devil wins, but if we use heavenly wisdom to fight the Devil and his helpers, then win, we, the person whose attacking us, and God!”
Picture: Cody on the trail