Many of you may recognize the name Jim Elliot because he died a death that made the news. He was killed by the tribe he was trying to reach with the gospel. Since then, God has opened doors within this tribe and now, largely thanks to Jim’s witness (along with his friends) the gospel has triumphed in this tribe.
But the reason why he has influenced me so much is because of his journals, published later by family members. As David Brainerd’s diary moved my soul, Elliot’s journals moved them deeper. The real groans and longings of a man desiring to be closer to God are like aloe to the sunburnt soul. It not only describes the personal love between this man and Jesus, it describes how that love calls us out to those who don’t know Jesus. I still love picking up this journal every now and then to get a window into the soul of a man who walked with God. It has changed my life.
Here are a few pickings out of the journals for you:
“Father, make of me a ‘crisis man’. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road. Make of me a fork, so that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.”
“What is written in these pages I suppose will someday be read by others than myself. For this reason I cannot hope to be absolutely honest in what is herein recorded, for the hypocrisy of this shammering heart will ever be putting on a front and dares not to have written what is actually found in its abysmal depths. Yet, I pray Lord, that You will make these notations to be as nearly true to fact as is possible so that I will know my own heart and be able to definitely pray regarding my gross, though often unviewed, inconsistencies. I do this at the suggestion of Stephen Olford whose chapel message of yesterday morning convicted me that my quiet time with God is not what it should be. These remarks are to be written from fresh, daily thoughts given from God in meditation on His Word.”
“The world cannot hate you”, so Jesus said to those who were of the world spirit. O’ that it could! The Lord is not enough ‘with me’ that the world can recognize and hate me for what I am – “not of the world.” The world loves its own, and for me it shelters not hatred. Lord, have I wandered so far?”
Jan 25, 1948 – “There is now no longer any inheritance for me down here. I’ve been bought by the labors of that great Shepherd who came from afar to gain me as His bride. Lead on, Lord, whatever God’s command is or wherever He may lead, I am now ready to go.”
Jan 29, 1948 – “God, I pray, light these idle sticks of my life and may I burn up for Thee. Consume my life, my God, for it is Thine. I seek not a long life, but a full one like Yours, Lord Jesus.”
Feb 2, 1948 – “Lord, I know Thou art with me, but I fear that because my life is barren for Thee so much of the time, that You gain little glory from being with me. I pray Thee, make my way prosperous, not that I achieve high station, but that my life might be an exhibit to the value of knowing God.”
Feb 16, 1948 – “Lord, here at Wheaton we need some affliction to unite us in our purpose, to make us prosper, to scatter us abroad. I pray, then, Lord, for should I ask for a Pharaoh who knows not our Joseph and is antagonistic? (Gen. 37- Ex. 1) Yes, send persecution to me, Lord, that my life might bring forth much fruit.”
September 20, 1948 – “I am Thine at terrible cost to Thyself. Now Thou must become mine — as Thou didst not attend to the price, neither would I.”
Over above everything though, was one quote that has long stuck out as the mission statement of his life. Here it is:
He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.
Jim Elliot was no fool, are you?