Do not store up for yourselves treasures on Earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves and robbers break in and steal ...for where your treasure is, there will be your heart be also. ~ Matthew 6:19-21
On January 8, 1956, Jim Elliot, part of a missionary team sent to the Acua people of Ecuador, was killed along with four other men by the very people with whom he had worked so hard to establish a trusting relationship. In several previous meetings, the tribesmen had reacted with apparent tolerance to gifts and messages. On that day, the tribesmen reverted to previous behaviour and viciously attacked.
Among Jim Elliot's effects was a diary. In it he wrote these words: "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."
Jim's wife, Elisabeth, and family later returned to do ministry among the Acuas. And, over time, many of these once primitive and violent tribesmen came to know and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Elisabeth's book, Through Gates of Splendor, about her husband and their missionary outreach, has since become a classic, one that has inspired hundreds of thousands of people.
Jim could have spent a lifetime acquiring things, amassing a fortune - he was an intelligent, capable guy. He chose instead to lay up treasure elsewhere by investing his life in people. Death is a portal through which money and things cannot go. But on the other side we can reap the benefits of other kinds of investments: the love we gave, the joy we imparted, the message of salvation shared, the wisdom shared, the patience we expended.
Jim Elliot freely gave of his life; many others simply take life from those around them. What about you?
- The Rev. Todd H. Wetzel