No Fool

“A man’s greatest care should be for that place where he lives longest; therefore eternity should be his scope.” – Thomas Watson (1620-1686)

Eternity was the scope of Jim Elliot.

Sixty-six years ago this month, Elliot and four other men, including pilot Nate Saint, were martyred in an effort to bring the Gospel to the Waodani (Auca) people of Ecuador.

Elliot died at age 28, and many might say his life was wasted, dying so young and leaving behind a wife and daughter. And he was doing what many would consider foolish — trying to befriend a tribe of savage killers.

But eternity was the scope of Jim Elliot.

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” – Jim Elliot (1927-1956)

Elliot gave his life on earth — a life that he could not keep. And he gained what he cannot lose — accruing friends for eternity by bringing the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

Elliot’s death, and the deaths of the men with him, paved the way for the Gospel to spread to the Waodani people. Many lives were changed because of their ultimate sacrifices, and many who were inspired by these martyrs became missionaries themselves, further spreading the Gospel.

Sometimes Jesus’ followers have to lose their lives in service and witness so that many come to faith.

Jesus says in John 12:23-26:

“…unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.”

Eternity was the scope of Jim Elliot.

Elisabeth Elliot, his widow, wrote two books about her late husband: Through the Gates of Splendor and Shadow of the Almighty: The Life and Testament of Jim Elliot. Elliot’s story is also featured in Torchlighters: The Jim Elliot Story, an animated movie for kids ages 8 to 12, and in Hero Tales Volume 2 by Dave and Neta Jackson. His story along with Nate Saint’s story is also featured in the 2006 movie The End of the Spear.

3 thoughts on “No Fool

  1. Having known the Elliot family well when I was a boy I appreciate this post. (Actually I lived in Jim’s home with him and his family for a period of time.)

    My favorite Jim Elliot saying is, “Forgive me for being so ordinary while claiming to know such an extraordinary God.”

    May God richly bless your ministry for Him.

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