I am reading "Through Gates of Splendor" by Elisabeth Elliot. It is the account of the martyrdom of Five American Missionaries in the Equador jungle. First published in 1957, it recounts how five young husbands lost their lives in the attempt to reach the Auca Indians with the gospel of Christ.
I told my children today that our lives must have purpose. We must live deliberately, striving to know God and to serve Him in any capacity He has planned for us.
That's how Jim Elliot lived. Even as a young man, he chose not to be involved in too many extra-curricular activities, because he did not want to become occupied with non-essentials, and miss the essentials of life. He wrote to his mother, explaining his choice to participate in wrestling, "I wrestle solely for the strength and co-ordination of muscle tone that the body receives while working out, with the ultimate end that of presenting a more useful body as a living sacrifice." He chose this physical activity deliberately, knowing it would further his usefulness in the Kingdom of God.
Jim knew that he was just passing through, that this world was not his home, but that he was only here to serve Christ until he was called to his REAL HOME.
"Life is not here, but hid above with Christ in God, and therein I rejoice and sing as I think on such exaltation."
His reflections indicate that he was well aware that he might be martyred. Yet he wanted to live passionately for His God.
"'He makes His ministers a flame of fire.' Am I ignitable? God deliver me from the dread asbestos of 'other things'. Saturate me with the oil of the Spirit that I may be a flame. But flame is transient, often short-lived. Canst thou bear this, my soul - short life? In me there dwells the Spirit of the Great Short-Lived, whose zeal for God's house consumed Him. 'Make me Thy Fuel, Flame of God.'"
Oh, my children, learn from Jim Elliot. Learn that to be satisfied in Christ, you must live each day to the full, deliberately choosing those activities that further your usefulness for the work God has prepared you to do. (For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, that God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10)
Learn that this world is not your home. You are just travelling on the path to the Celestial City. On the way, you may encounter many obstacles. Yet you must know, and rest in the fact, that NOTHING will ever happen to you that is not planned by your loving Heavenly Father, for your good and His glory.
Learn, too, that to serve the God of Glory is to be wholehearted before Him. Nothing else is reasonable. (We are to present our bodies a living sacrifice, wholly acceptable to God, which is our reasonable service. Romans 12:1) If God is Who He Says He is, then we must be in awe. We must be aflame! We must be willing to do and be anything He wants us to do and be. Learn this, and rest in it. Jim wrote, "Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God."
What a wonderful example Jim Elliot is to our sons and daughters! Thank You, Lord, for calling Jim to the jungle of Equador. Thank You for giving him a heart aflame for Your glory. Help us to live like Jim lived, with deliberate purposeful hearts before our Beautiful God. In Jesus' wonderful name, Amen.