One of my all time favorite western movies is Lonesome Dove. If you’ve seen it you may remember the scene where the two main characters Gus McCrae and Woodrow Call were intently discussing Gus’s handmade sign which had been nailed to the entrance of their dilapidated ranch on the southern Texas border. The top of the sign read: Hat Creek Cattle Company & Livery Emporium. The second and third line informed that Capt.
Augustus McCrae & Captain W.F. Call were owners and proprietors – further down on the sign were scratched the words – We don’t sell Pigs! (this was the primary focus of their discussion). Then beneath that at the very bottom Gus had inscribed four Latin words. I can’t recollect what they were but it’s irrelevant due to the fact that Gus didn’t know what they meant. When challenged by Woodrow as to their meaning Gus defended himself by saying that Latin words indicate that the inscriber is an educated person. The conversation endeared me to these old Texas Rangers and later compelled me to include a few Latin words of my own when it came time to construct a sign for our new homestead. As we completed the barn I went to my shop and prepared a large slab of wood for the words I was about to inscribe. After consulting with my friend and scholar Mike Freeman I chose the three words: “Quaerite Primum Regnum” to be written at the bottom of our sign. Nearly everyone who visits here can’t help but notice it right off due to the fact that it’s nailed conspicuously on the front of the barn. Inevitably curiosity will get the best of most people and they will eventually ask for the meaning. As you might guess I generally retell the story of Gus and Woodrow that I’ve just related to you, immediately followed by a challenge for them to take a guess. Only then will I reveal the significance of the words. The sign reads; Timber Butte Ranch – dedicated 2005, then is followed by the Latin phrase that means – “Seeking First the Kingdom”. [Matthew 6:33]
Timber Butte Ranch has not only been dedicated to the Lord, but it’s our intention that it will be used to serve God and his Kingdom. Nancy and I both know only too well how easy it would be for us to isolate and withdraw from the complexity of the world around us as we ventured to build a self-sustaining farmstead, but our intention honestly is the opposite. Our heart is to use it to help train willing people who desire to take sustainable skills out into a world that desperately needs them for survival. We have had the privilege of visiting and working in some of the poorest countries in the world and have seen firsthand the need for sustainable food production, sustainable energy sources, education to counter illiteracy as well as help in the areas of health and environmental development. One of our primary goals for the development of the Timber Butte property is for the purpose of serving in these desperately needed areas of cultural reform. With the help of many other like-hearted people we have recently established a ministry agency that works towards these ends. We are calling it “REFORM”. If you are interested you might check our WEB site at www.reform-now.org.