Over the last few weeks I have been writing about a document I keep on the desktop of my computer entitled, “My Motivation.” It is designed to remind and inspire and focus me toward Christ-centered living, but it’s comprised of pictures rather than words. Nine of the fifteen pictures are of various men of God who inspire me for a number of reasons, the eighth of whom is Jim Elliot.
Jim was born in 1927 to Christian parents who taught him to love Jesus, read his Bible, and live adventurously for Christ. He entered Wheaton College in 1945 where he grew in the passion to preach the gospel to unreached peoples, and where the Lord focused his attention on Ecuador.
After some years of preparation, he and a friend arrived in Ecuador on February 21, 1952. Their passion was to reach the Waodoni Indians, who were both unreached and reportedly brutal. They commenced their work by first assisting with existing outreaches, and then later expanding the work toward the Waodoni.
Before taking that fateful step, Jim married his wife Elizabeth in the fall of 1953 with whom he had one daughter, Valerie, born in February of 1955. But despite his deep love for these ladies, he was still compelled by the Lord to reach the unreached, and thus he and his friends made initial contact with the Waodoni. Their first forays were positive and encouraging, but within several months a group of about ten Waodoni warriors overtook their base camp and killed them all—Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Roger Youderian, and Pete Fleming.
There is so much to say about these precious men of God, but let me quickly summarize for you why I count them heroes of the faith, and why I regularly gaze upon a picture of Jim Elliot. First, these men lived with a consuming passion for the lost, especially for unreached people groups. Second, they put their money where their mouths were, so to speak. Third, most of all, they were faithful to Jesus unto death and therefore they will receive the crown of life (Revelation 2:10).
Jim Elliot famously wrote in his journal on October 28, 1949, three years before arriving in Ecuador, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” Amen. Jim’s life testifies to the truth of his words, and for this reason I count him a hero and pray that I will have the faith and courage to live what I believe, even unto death.
Longing to give and gain by faith in Christ,