Men of Many Trades. The Northwest Mounted Police, Part 1


Would you like to apply for the following job?

"Wanted: Adventuresome, resourceful individuals for the job of the century! A real paradise for the taking!

"Job Responsibilities: Enforce law and order; keep track of activities and people, mostly isolated cabin dwellers, over a region of thousands of miles; keep said people in touch with the outside world (sorry, there are no radios); discourage liquor trade among the natives; and act as customs agent, mining recorder, undertaker, game warden, dentist and doctor.

"Job Requirements: The ability to navigate river rapids, ride horseback, and utilize snowshoes and dog sleds (which requires feeding the dogs, if you want to get anywhere); the willingness to log, haul and build own office and endure long periods of isolation (candidates will be shut off from the outside world for at least 8 months of the year), mosquitoes, black flies, a monotonous diet, extreme cold, and no internet or television.

"Candidates should be self-determined, between twenty-two to thirty-two years of age, powerfully built (be a superman!); they should be willing to depend on local First Nations for assistance and guidance on the many miles of rugged trails (no paved roads, sorry!); and they must abhor any drink stronger than water. No training or equipment provided."

Sounds fun, doesn't it?

What? You're not interested? How come?

Although never listed that way, this was the job description of the Northwest Mounted Policemen (NWMP) who served in the Yukon during the late 1800s and 1900s. Although a force of fifty men had been recommended, only nineteen were assigned to the job. These nineteen men received basic training, but no matter how extensively you are trained, you cannot be an expert in everything required by the above description.

What the NWMP lacked in training and experience however, they made up for with their caring attitudes. Because of the NWMP, the Yukon did not have the crime scenes that Alaskan cities endured. In fact, crime in the Yukon was very rare! But more importantly, these men were highly respected throughout the Yukon, and people, white and native alike, welcomed them into their homes with open arms.

Reflecting on this, I realize how often we impact others, not necessarily with our abilities, but with our willingness to help out. It doesn't matter if we have a doctorate and 25 years of experience. Without love and the desire to help, these things are nothing more than decorations. The only services that will be remembered are those rendered out of love.

I have never heard a student exclaim: "My teacher has a doctorate! Wow!" I have heard, however, students shout out: "Hey! I'm going to be in Mrs. "D's" class! She's so cool! She really cares about her students. I can't wait!"

It's love that makes the differences, friends. And that's just what Christians are called to do. Like the NWMP, we don't need to be experts in everything. All we need is a willing heart that reflects the love of Christ.

"Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34-35 NIV)

"Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us." (1 John 4:11-12 NIV)

"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing." (1 Cor 13:1-3 NIV)

"Euh… I need some help. My dog just ran away."

What will be your response?

Rob Chaffart

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