Sunday, January 14, 2007

from here to there (3+4/4)

Jim Elliot was born in Portland, Oregan in 1927. In 1941 he started at Benson Polytechnic school, where he was known for his ability at american football, journalism and oublic speaking. Indeed, his speach lauding the achievements of FDR was described as 'one of the best i've ever heard' by a listening teacher. Along with all this, Jim was known as a Christian. He refused to back down from debate or discussion with his classmates during his school years, often launching into a mini sermon to explain and defend his beliefs. Neither was he afraid to defend his faith at a higher level, once clashing with the Student's president over his non-attendance at a school dance. He was a pacifist, and would have ignored his call up for World War Two had he been drafted.

In 1945, God called Jim to Wheaton College, a Bible college in Illinois. He saw this as a chance to grow in preparation for the mission field, both spiritually and physically, and to this end, despite his pacifist tendancies, he joined the wrestling team. His grades in subjects like politics and philosophy suffered due to this as well. He told his parents in an unapologtic letter that he felt studying the Bible to be far more important. He even turned down a staff position that would have given him a years free tuition as he felt that some of the responsibilities where a waste of time. Jim was burdened with a call to the mission field during his time at Wheaton, and spoke on how the Holy Spirt helps us in that role. One summer he and a friend hitchhiked to Mexico and Brazil where they spent time with a missionary family. This solidified Jim's calling to work with tribal people in south america.

Jim left Wheaton in 1949 and unsure of what to next he took up a number of odd-jobs, including teaching in a Christian school, who were to offer him a full time post, which he turned down. During this period he was in contact with Wilfred Tidmarsh, a missionary in Ecuador. In the January of 1950 he accepted a job with Camp Wycliffe, a linguistics programme. While not sure whether he shou;d accpet, he had been involved with the Inter Varsity Fellowship, and decided to work with Wycliffe. He continued to persue the missioanry life at this time, reading books by David Brainerd, Hudson Taylor and J.G Paton among others. He also interested in the poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley and the philosophy of Nietzsche according to his journal.

Elliot first arrived in Ecuador in February 1952 to do mission with another tribe, the Quechua Indians. He married and became a father. Four years later he and four others ventured inot Auca territory...

Jim Elliot is perhaps best remembered for this quote: 'He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.' For Him, the glory of the name of Jesus was certainly more important than life.

Nate Saint was born in August 1923 and was an avid flyer from birth. He fought with the army in World War II. He enrolled in Wheaton College, but dropped out in order to join the mission aviation fellowship and in 1948 he and his wife Marjorie began working in Ecuador, setting up an airbase on a disused oil camp, where they supplied the exisiting missionaries with essentials such as medicine and mail. He was the first to set eyes on the settlement that the team would set out to later on as he flew his fixed wing plane over what became known as Terminal City.

Perhaps Nate's greatest legacy is the ministry of his son, Steve Saint. Steve travels the world speaking on the role and sovereignty of God in suffering. Perhaps the most amazing thing about Steve's ministry, well, actually the most amazing thing about Steve's ministry is the fact that he travels the globe, talking about Jesus with the man who killed his dad. Isn't that amazing? That the deaths of these five young men was not in vain. Indeed soon after their deaths, the Huaorani tribe came to know the Lord and want to tell others.

The work of the cross in this story is amazing. What is it that makes five young, potentially successful men with their whole lives ahead of them go out to a backwater, knowing they are in every danger, and then lose their lives with seemingly so little achieved. What makes the son of one of these men able to not only forgive the man who killed his dad, but also live with him? What was it that made all the trials, problems and ultimately deaths of these men worthwhile?

The supremacy of Christ.

These five knew that they had a better and abiding possesion in Heaven then they did on earth. They knew that they couldn't sit on this message but had to spread it across the globe. They knew that had to lose what they could not keep in order to gain what thet could not lose. They knew that Christ's promises where sure. That He had ransomed people from this tribe, as indeed He had, and that He was worthy of their suffering for the glory due His name. They knew nothing else in life tastes as sweet as the Gospel.

1 comment:

Ant said...

just wandered past your blog again... thanks for posting this series. Good to be reminded again of the lives and deaths of these men, and the great things God has accomplished since then.