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GOD & TEXAS: Fighting Parson

“Which road are you on?” This was the sermon title of frontier minister Pleasant Tackett in the message he preached to the weary settlers as they circled their wagons on Sunday morning June 7, 1857.

Rev. Tackett was born in Kentucky in 1803. Early in his life he made a commitment to Christ and was appointed by the Missouri Methodist Conference to serve as a missionary to the Western Cherokee tribe in Arkansas. Eventually, Tackett moved to Texas with his wife and large family to continue his missions work.

Settling around Weatherford, Tackett planted churches primarily in Collin, Parker, and Young counties. Even though he found much success in missionary work on the Brazos Indian Reservation, the parson had to fight renegade bands of Comanches that tried to kidnap his children and ravage his livestock. For his exploits, many people called him the “fighting parson.”

Pleasant Tackett reminds us of the people found in Nehemiah 4:17 (NKJV) who were rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem. The Scripture states that “with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon.” And so it was with many of the pioneers on the Texas frontier.

In 1857, Parson Tackett was serving as a “caravan pastor” on a wagon train headed to California. These trips were filled with much danger and many anxious moments. Between the foul weather and attacks by roving Indians, arrival to their destination was not guaranteed. Additionally, it was easy to get lost in the wilderness, and to travel the wrong trail.

So, when Parson Tackett gathered the settlers together for Sunday morning church, the weary pioneers were hoping for a word of encouragement and wisdom. First, he imparted inspiration from 2 Kings 6: 16 (KJV), “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.”

Then, the good pastor shared a somber challenge about spiritual commitment using various scriptures including Proverbs 14:12 (KJV), “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”

Then he asked this probing question about their spiritual lives, “Which road are you on?” He told them that there are basically three roads in life that people travel.

Most people travel on the Pleasure Road. This is a road that seems fun and exciting because it satisfies the carnal instincts of life. But it ends in destruction.

The second road that many people travel is the Pressure Road. On this road they are consumed with the stresses of life. They rarely think about God because they are bound by survival, work, and just getting by.

But the best road to take is the Priority Road. Jesus emphasized this road in Matthew 6:33 (KJV), “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Which road are you on? It was a good question in 1857, and it’s still a good one today.

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