I grew up on Jim Elliot. He was my childhood hero. I read the book “Through Gates of Splendor” probably five times before I was 12 years old.
I wanted to be like him. I wanted to fly a bush plane into the jungles like Nate Saint. I was even ready to die – like them. I have often thought I would. (I haven’t, in case you’re wondering).
Jim Elliot was born in Portland, Oregon. So was I. I’m afraid that’s probably where the similarities end.
The hymn that five missionaries sang before they left has these words:
We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender.
Thine is the battle, Thine shall be the praise;
When passing through the gates of pearly splendor,
Victors, we rest with Thee, through endless days.
Jim Elliot’s passion and focus for Jesus and for people who didn’t know Jesus was what drove him. They intended to reach out to the Quichua natives in Ecuador but once they found out there was a more remote and feared tribe called the Waodani (Auca) then his focus immediately shifted. Jim wanted to reach the hardest people.
When the five were killed – the amazing story visually told through End of the Spear – the families stayed on. His wife, Elizabeth wrote the book while still in Ecuador. A year later, they made their first peaceful contact with the Waodani – who have now mostly committed their lives to believing in and following Jesus.
Through his life I have been constantly convicted to:
1. Carry in my heart the peoples of the world who have never heard!
2. Increase my passion for Jesus. Not just teaching others about Jesus – but having, within myself, a passion to believe!
3. To be ready to risk it all. No fear. This “bent” was planted in me by these brave families who risked it all – and gave it all.
I will too….