We are fools for Christ… - 1 Corinthians 4:10a (NIV)
Last Sunday, the children in the elementary age Sunday School class watched a video regarding the life of Jim Elliot. Jim Elliot and four other missionaries to Ecuador were killed back in January of 1956 while attempting to make contact with a remote and savage tribe known as the Huaorani people (though often called the Auca Indians). News of the deaths of these five American missionaries became a major news story back in the U.S. And so it was, in the Sunday School class we talked about what missionaries often have to give up in order to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to various parts of the world. Just consider, they may have to give up:
For each country, the demands made upon the missionary will be different. My aunt (Tookie, whom I recently wrote about) served with her husband and children in Honduras. And while they gave up a lot to live in Honduras they also were able to have a full-time maid -–something they would never have had back in the U.S. The point is that every situation is different.
Long before Jim Elliot was speared to death by the Auca Indians, he said and wrote down a line that he had made up. Today, it is repeated often, but it was apparently Jim Elliot who said it first:
HE IS NO FOOL WHO GIVES WHAT HE CANNOT KEEP
TO GAIN WHAT HE CANNOT LOSE.
When Jim said those words he obviously had no idea that he would eventually give up his very life for the sake of the gospel. For most missionaries the demand is not quite that high. But it is high enough.
So are they fools? "Fools for Christ" yes. But are they really fools? Not in the least. For they are giving up what they cannot keep – mere physical things or pleasures – to gain a prize that is beyond measure. And in the end they shall, in the words of Daniel 12:3 "Shine like the stars." That's not something that can be said of everyone now, is it?
Thank God for our missionaries!