Occasionally I fill in for the high school Sunday School teacher at my church. Recently I filled in for her, and the lesson was very interesting. The theme of the lesson was “God has a plan and a purpose for your life.” That was mixed in with the need for personal integrity and hard work. It was a good lesson.
The example given in the lesson was the story of Squanto. Squanto is very well known in Massachusetts as the Indian who pretty much saved the Pilgrims’ lives during their first winter in America. The Pilgrims landed on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, on November 11, 1620. Shortly after, they moved to Plymouth, a harbor somewhat protected by Cape Cod Bay. Coming to New England in November with limited supplies is a recipe for disaster. Initially the Pilgrims were greeted by an Indian named Samoset, chief of the Algonquin tribe in Maine, who was exploring the coast. He spoke English, which he had learned from various fishing captains who had fished off the Maine Coast. He explained to them that area where they had settled had previously belonged to the Patuxet Indians, a large, hostile tribe who murdered every white man who landed on their shores. Four years before the Pilgrims arrived, that tribe had died of a mysterious plague. The devastation was so complete that neighboring tribes would not settle in that land. Later, Samoset brought his friends Squanto and Massasoit, the Chief of the Wampanoag Tribe, to meet the Pilgrims.
This is Squanto’s story:
In 1605, Squanto and four other Indians were taken captive by English sailors and taken to England. When he met Squanto in England, Captain John Smith, an English Captain, promised to take Squanto back to his people. In 1614, Captain Smith fulfilled that promise. Unfortunately, Captain Hunt, who was sailing with Captain Smith’s expedition on another ship kidnapped Squanto and some other Indians and brought them back to Spain. Squanto was bought by local friars, who introduced him to Christianity. Squanto managed to get back to London where he embarked for New England with Captain Dermer. Captain Dermer picked up Samoset at Monhegan, an important fishing station in Maine, and dropped both Indians off at Plymouth. When Squanto got to Plymouth, he found out that his entire tribe had been wiped out by disease. Squanto lived with the Massasoit (Wampanoag Tribe) for a while as he grieved his loss. Then Samoset told him about some peaceful English families at Patuxet. He went with Samoset to meet the Pilgrims.
That meeting resulted in a 40-year peace treaty of mutual aid and assistance. Massasoit was an example of God’s provision in his care for the Pilgrims. Squanto chose to stay with the Pilgrims after the meeting with Samoset and Massasoit. He showed them how to catch fish and how to plant corn. He taught them to stalk deer, make beaver pelts for trading, and the other skills they needed to survive. His grieving ended as he discovered new purpose.
Based on where he was born and his family, Squanto was not someone you would have assumed would make a difference in the world. Yet, despite his beginnings and unbelievable challenges and disappointments, he played a significant role in the history of America. Never assume that you are too insignificant to be significant. We are at a major tipping point in America right now. You never know the impact you may have on a person when you simply share a basic truth or insight with them. We know in the end that the good guys win. You are part of that victory.
Much the information here can be found in THE LIGHT AND THE GLORY By Peter Marshall and David Manuel.