Thursday, November 4, 2010
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I've stood on a lot of beaches in my lifetime. There's one beach I'll never forget. It wasn't at some exotic resort location. It was in the middle of the jungle along the Curaray River in Ecuador. I'd been flown there by a missionary pilot to tape an important radio program there - to tell a new generation perhaps the most amazing missionary story of the 20th Century. It's the story of the five gifted and successful young Americans on whose hearts God laid a deep burden for an Indian tribe who lived in the jungles that I was now visiting. They were called the Aucas back then - today we know their real name is the Waoranis. They were described as living like people might have lived in the Stone Age. Jim Elliott, pilot Nate Saint, and three other outstanding young men were determined that these people would have a chance to hear about Jesus for the very first time - even though the tribe was known as savage killers.
After months of communication through gifts that they lowered by a cable from their plane, they finally landed on that beach to make the risky personal contact. With their American sense of humor, they called this desolate beach Palm Beach - although there was little about it that would make you think of a famous resort beach. Within days, all five of these brave ambassadors for Christ were dead with Auca lances in their bodies, some floating in the river by that beach. The word of their deaths flashed around the world and reached even a boy like I was. Poor Jim Elliott. Poor Jim Elliott and his friends. So much potential - and by most earth measures, they wasted their lives. Or did they? No, they invested their lives. Jim Elliott's widow and Nate Saint's sister went to the Aucas, lived among them, and gave them Jesus. Ten years later, Nate Saint's 16-year-old son wanted to be baptized - in the Curaray River where his Dad's body had been found. And he was baptized - by one of the men who had killed his father - a man who was now one of the pastors of the Waorani church. The killers came to Jesus. Much of the tribe came to Jesus. Some of them went to reach other Waorani who were living the same darkness they once did.
And as the example of those missionary martyrs reached a world of Christian young people, thousands surrendered their lives to the service of Jesus Christ. One was my wife. One was me. Today, their living legacy is telling about Jesus around the world. Which underscores in blazing color how Jim Elliott summed up his view of life: "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose."
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I'm having A Word With You today about "Living For Things You Cannot Lose."
Years ago, through this example of a yielded life, God called me to give what I could not keep, to gain what I could not lose. Today, He may be calling you. Listen to this word for today from the Word of God in 1 John 2, beginning with verse 15, "Do not love the world or anything in the world...The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever." Could it be that it's time in your life for an honest evaluation of what you're really living for; what's getting the best of your energy, your abilities, your time? Is it something you can't lose - or something you will never lose?
God's been stirring your heart before you heard this, hasn't He? And it's because He wants you to make a far greater difference with the rest of your life than you've made until now. It will probably require releasing some of the earth-stuff and earth-plans that have filled so much of your life. That's called, in the Bible's words, loving this world. But this world is the Titanic. It's going down. But the person who devotes their life to the eternal things they were created for will see their years on this planet count for all eternity. It's not cheap, but it's worth it. Just ask Jim Elliott. Just ask Jesus. Some will think what you're doing is foolish. But then, he is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.