Missionary Jim Elliot was only 28 years old when he was killed while doing mission work in Ecuador. But his legacy has continued far beyond his lifespan.
While attending Wheaton College, Elliot felt the call to share the Gospel with unreached people. So he moved to Ecuador, married Elisabeth Howard—who he had met at Wheaton—and worked with the Quichua Indians.
Elliot and four other men started working to reach the Waodoni, an unreached tribe that lived deep in the jungles. After some initial contact, one of the men in the tribe lied to tribe leaders about the missionaries’ intentions. And on January 8, 1956, 10 members of the tribe killed Elliot and his four companions.
Throughout his life, Elliot kept a journal, detailing his thoughts on God, obedience and sacrifice.
In honor of the 60th anniversary of his death, here are some of his most poignant quotes:
On God’s Will
God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him.
“The will of God is always a bigger thing than we bargain for, but we must believe that whatever it involves, it is good, acceptable and perfect.”
He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.
Grieve not, then, if your sons seem to desert you, but rejoice, rather, seeing the will of God done gladly.
On Being Present
“Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”
“When the time comes to die, make sure that all you have to do is die!”
On God’s Law
Most laws condemn the soul and pronounce sentence. The result of the law of my God is perfect. It condemns but forgives. It restores—more than abundantly—what it takes away.
On Living Boldly
“Forgive me for being so ordinary while claiming to know so extraordinary a God.”
“We are so utterly ordinary, so commonplace, while we profess to know a Power the Twentieth Century does not reckon with. But we are “harmless,” and therefore unharmed. We are spiritual pacifists, non-militants, conscientious objectors in this battle-to-the-death with principalities and powers in high places. Meekness must be had for contact with men, but brass, outspoken boldness is required to take part in the comradeship of the Cross. We are ‘sideliners’—coaching and criticizing the real wrestlers while content to sit by and leave the enemies of God unchallenged. The world cannot hate us, we are too much like its own. Oh that God would make us dangerous!”
Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road; make me a fork, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.
Rest in this: it is His business to lead, command, impel, send, call or whatever you want to call it. It is your business to obey, follow, move, respond, or what have you.
I may no longer depend on pleasant impulses to bring me before the Lord. I must rather respond to principles I know to be right, whether I feel them to be enjoyable or not.
Dargan is a former RELEVANT editor turned freelancer. Find her online at darganthompson.com or follow her extremely random train of thought on Twitter @darganthompson.