Living and Dying for the Glory of God: Jim Elliot’s LegacyBy David Burnette
“Remember you are immortal until your work is done. But don’t let the sands of time get into the eyes of your vision to reach those who still sit in darkness. They simply must hear.” (81)
In chapter 5 of 10 Who Changed the World, Danny Akin gives us a snapshot of the life and ministry of Jim Elliot. Along with Ed McCully, Roger Youderain, Pete Fleming, and Nate Saint, Eliot sought to take the gospel to the Auca (or Huaorani Indians) of Ecuador. All four men were brutally murdered for their faith. Their story has inspired countless others to take the gospel to hard places across the globe.
When Jim’s wife, Elizabeth (yes, the Elizabeth Elliot), asked her husband if he and the other four missionaries would use their guns if attacked by the Aucas, Jim responded, “We will not use our guns!” His reason? In his own words: “Because we are ready for heaven, but they are not.” (81)
Perhaps you’ve heard Eliot’s memorable line: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” (83)
The selections highlighted by Akin from Jim Eliot’s journal are both edifying and challenging. God was moving in Eliot’s heart at a young age, giving him an intense passion to know Christ and make Him known. Here are a couple snippets:
October 28, 1948
“Prayed a strange prayer today. I covenanted with my Father that He would do either of two things – either glorify Himself to the utmost in me, or slay me. By His grace I shall not have His second best. For He heard me, I believe, so that now I have nothing to look forward to but a life of sacrificial sonship (that’s how thy Savior was glorified, my soul) or heaven soon. Perhaps tomorrow. What a prospect!” (76).
July 15, 1948
How like Orpah I am – prone to kiss, to display full devotion and turn away; how unlike Ruth, cleaving and refusing to part except at death (1:14-17). Eternal Lover, make Thou Thyself inseparable from my unstable soul. Be Thou the object bright and fair to fill and satisfy the heart. My hope to meet Thee in the air, and nevermore from Thee to part!” (75)