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jim elliot: death speaking louder than life

My thanks to Fred Sanders at Scriptorium Daily for his article ‘Today Jim Elliot Was Killed (1956)‘.

Our friends Logan and Amber have a knack for giving their kiddos great names, and their youngest, Calvin Elliot, is named “Calvin after the theologian John Calvin and Elliott, after Jim Elliot, a missionary who was martyred while trying to take the gospel to the Auca Indians in South America.”

Good call Logan and Amber.

Beth and I just got to meet the little guy for the first time over Christmas break, and when I read Sanders’ “Today Jim Elliot Was Killed” I had no choice but to pray that little Calvin Elliot would have the Lord’s favor in the same way his name sake did.

The following is a bit of what Sanders has to say:

Jim Elliot and his widow Elisabeth were unusually articulate. They had words on the tips of their tongues and were able to give a compelling account of why they were doing what they were doing.

Start with Jim Elliot’s most famous statement, written in his journal in 1949: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”
Jim Elliot no fool quote bgc archives It explained, in advance, how Elliot had thought through the relative value of the most important things in life. The sentence sprang from Bible study (Luke 16:9), was honed by personal meditation, and aimed at obedience. It’s one small example of how Elliot had words ready to explain his actions.

And that one saying is not all; his diaries are filled with passages which would do just as well to sum up his service:

One treasure, a single eye, and a sole master.

God, I pray Thee, light these idle sticks of my life and may I burn for Thee. Consume my life, my God, for it is Thine. I seek not a long life, but a full one, like you, Lord Jesus.

Saturate me with the oil of the Spirit that I may be aflame. But flame is often short-lived. Canst thou bear this, my soul? Short life? In me there dwells the spirit of the Great Short-Lived, whose zeal for God’s house consumed Him. ‘Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God.’

As your life is in His hands, so are the days of your life. But don’t let the sands of time get into the eye of your vision to reach those who sit in darkness. They simply must hear.

I must not think it strange if God takes in youth those whom I would have kept on earth till they were older. God is peopling Eternity, and I must not restrict Him to old men and women.

The will of God is always a bigger thing than we bargain for.

Jim Elliot knew what he was about, and knew how to explain it. That’s what sets him apart as a martyr: He testified so well. Remember that the greek word martyr originally meant “somebody who testifies.” What caused its meaning to change into “somebody who dies for a cause?” The word took on that new meaning when the early church, under persecution, brought forth a large number of people who were so good at standing for what they believed in that their message became clear to the whole ancient world: they testified themselves to death; they witnessed mortally; they underwent death by testimony, and their testimony was heard.

Thank God for Jim Elliot.

I hope that little Calvin Elliot, as well as every person who identifies themselves by the name of Christ, knows what he is about and knows how to explain it.

I hope we all have the faith of a Jim Elliot, who understood that the News about Jesus is worth both living and laying down our lives for.

Thanks for continuing the legacy Logan and Amber, for giving your baby boy a name that reminds him daily of the God who is worth laying it all down for.

Links: Be sure to go read the rest of ‘Today Jim Elliot Was Killed

Go give Logan, Amber , Eli, and Calvin some  love at the Gentrified Blog.

. . . . . . .

Are there any people who you have never met, never personally known, who have so profoundly shaped you that you would name your child after them?

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  1. Brandon
    January 8, 2009 at 11:21 pm

    Yeah, Jim Elliot had much to do with how I viewed Jesus’ call to be his disciple early on. I felt that when I read his story, I had to count the cost as he did, whether or not I was to have a similar mission to his. A willing-to-be-speared (or willing-to-love-my-bosses) love for Jesus is still what I want.

    And his wife’s testimony…don’t even get me started. The gospel is so clear in what she did after Jim’s death that I’m embarrassed of how obscured the gospel is by my own life. I could hear their story every day and never grow tired.

  1. January 8, 2009 at 3:43 pm

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