Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Jim Elliot

My plan for this year was to read more Christian biographies - stories of both well-known and 'ordinary' Christians.

I started with the story of Jim Elliot back in January.  Jim was a missionary to Ecuador in the 1950s.  He and four other men were speared to death on the banks of Curaray River in 1956, trying to reach the hostile Auca Indians.

To be honest, Jim Elliot's personality quite annoyed me. While I admired his seriousness about serving the Lord, he reminded me of some guys I met when I first became a Christian that scared me silly.  There is a bit about where he and some mates gatecrashed their friend's honeymoon suite and then decided to hold a Bible study there.  Instead of spending their first night alone, the newlyweds had to deal with a group of Christian friends in their room doing Bible study.  Later, Jim realised he was in the wrong and apologised.   Ummm, yeah, you reckon?

The whole issue of how God guides is prevalent in the book.  Personally, I think Jim was overspiritualising things, wanting God to give him signs all the time about where and when he should serve overseas.  I'm not saying we shouldn't pray about these things, but come on, make a decision!  Also, I was quite disgusted about how strings his future wife Elisabeth along for years, saying that he wants to remain single to serve the Lord, yet he keeps stirring up love in her heart.

His story is both inspiring and confronting.  I had to ask myself: Am I willing to do that?  Willing to go and reach a hostile group of people, risking my own life, so that they may hear about Christ?  Would I be willing to live without my modern creature comforts?  While the mission to reach the Aucas seemed to be a failure, years later many Aucas became Christians.  This book was a timely reminder that the gospel of Jesus Christ is unstoppable.

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