In his book, An Appeal to Heaven, author Dutch Sheets writes about an interesting concept. Hebrews 11 explains that many of the men and women of faith did not see their promises fulfilled during their lifetime. In many cases, God's plans and promises were not finished because He wanted the next generation to participate in their completion. Dutch compares the years to fulfill a promise to a relay race. He says, “Without us, God can't finish what He began through these saints; what He started through them cannot mature or live its intended goal until we grab the baton and run our leg of the race...At times, He makes promises to people, knowing full well He will deliver on those promises through their children, grandchildren, or spiritual descendants." This way of accomplishing a goal is called the "synergy of the ages" or "synergy of the generations."
My sharing about the synergy of the ages is to prepare you for the story I must tell you. My dear friend Joan has felt the call of God on her heart to minister in Liberia. Having been there several times for short-term trips, Joan has established a bond with the people. Recently she was asked to return to Liberia at the end of next month. Because there has been some terrorist activity in the region, Joan wanted to be sure that she was doing the right thing. Being a woman of prayer, she asked the Lord to confirm His desire for her to travel to this nation. Shortly after praying, a friend of Joan gave her a book whose author wrote about Samuel Morris who was born in the region where Joan hopes to visit.
Let me tell you the story of Samuel Morris as written on the web site of Taylor University in Indiana. He was born in a small Liberian village as the eldest son of the chief of the Kru tribe and given the name Prince Kaboo. A neighboring tribe overtook the Kru tribe and captured Kaboo. They subjected him to horrible treatment, including whippings. While being tortured, Kaboo saw a bright light and heard a voice from heaven telling him to flee. At that moment, the ropes around him fell to the ground, and he ran into the jungle. He traveled only at night and hid in the hollow of trees during the day. God protected him during the journey through the jungle. Eventually he was able to reach the capital of Monrovia.
In this capital city God introduced Kaboo to a young boy who invited him to his church. Here he met a graduate from Taylor University, Miss Knolls, who came as a missionary to Liberia. Kaboo accepted Jesus as his Savior after he heard the story of Paul. He was baptized under the name of Samuel Morris, the name of Miss Knoll's benefactor. After two years of growing in his faith, Morris had the desire to learn more so that he could teach his tribe about Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Miss Knolls suggested he go to Taylor University in America. He traveled on foot before he reached Robertsport harbor. He slept on the beach until he was able to arrange his passage on a ship to America in exchange for work. By the time the ship reached its destination in New York in September 1891, the captain and most of the crew had accepted Christ as their Savior because of Morris' steadfast witness.
Once Morris connected with his contacts at Taylor University, arrangements were made for him to attend the school. The president of the University, Thaddeus Reade, set up a fund for Morris called the "Faith Fund." Morris arrived on campus in December 1891 and immediately began to impact the community around him. The Fort Wayne, Indiana community would never be the same as Morris fervently shared his faith. President Reade said of him: "Samuel Morris was a divinely sent messenger of God to Taylor University. He thought he was coming over here to prepare himself for his mission to his people, but his coming was to prepare Taylor University for her mission to the whole world." Sadly, Samuel Morris contracted a severe cold which led to his death on May 12, 1893.
The University established a scholarship fund in the name of Samuel Morris which was used to bring international students to the school. After graduating, students were sent out into the world to share their faith. Upon reading Morris' testimony my friend Joan knows she has been called to join the synergy of the ages and continue his mission in Liberia. She is planning her trip as I write this story. Joan will run her leg of the race to the glory of God, and Samuel Morris will see his dream fulfilled. All of us have an assignment from the Lord. We may be in any stage of the race, but this is how we are to run it: "...And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith." (Hebrews 12:1-2)
Joan E. Mathias