Those Who Counted The Cost...And Paid For It: Jim Elliot And Four Friends

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.
--Jim Elliot, October 28, 1949

In this series Those Who Counted The Cost... And Paid It, I cannot forget Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Pete Fleming and Roger Youderian. These five men desired to take the Gospel to the Waodani (commonly known as the Auca), a tribe in living in Ecuador.

The Waodani were considered to be a savage-warlike people and those living in the surrounding area were terrified of them. They had resisted all contact and were at war with their own people as well as outsiders.

The men and their wives knew they were taking a risk in attempting to make contact with the Waodani. In fact, they kept their intent secret knowing that what they were planning to do would be considered to dangerous by their superiors. Yet they knew that this dying tribe needed to hear the gospel.

The full account of their story can be read in books such as Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot or End of the Spear by Steve Saint. Movies by the same names have been made and countless articles have been written and so more details may be obtained elsewhere. What I do want to share however is that the five men were successful in making initial contact but they paid for it with their lives. Believing their first contact to be promising, they eagerly awaited the return of the Waodani who had visited their camp earlier and had even sent word via radio about the meeting. The Waodoni did return only this time it was to kill.

In a strange twist of events, God took the terrible tragedy of what had happened and used it to open the door for Rachel Saint (Nate's sister), Elizabeth Elliot (Jim's widow), Marge Saint (Nate's widow) to actually come and live with the Waodoni. While the men themselves did not have the opportunity to share the gospel with Waodoni, their families did.

The idea of sacrificing your life for the life of someone else was not a part of the Waodoni culture. When they came to understand the sacrifice these men had made in order to bring the good news to them, they came to the understanding that truly Christ had died for them so that they too might be saved.

We have the notion that if something is God s will, it will be smooth sailing for us. We have the idea that if something doesn't work out the way we think it should, it is not in accordance with God s plan. Exactly who gave us the authority to determine what God should or shouldn t do and how? No one did.

Am I suggesting that God killed these men? Am I suggesting that He pours out evil upon us? Absolutely not! We live in a fallen world and as such, we are exposed to the same things everyone else is; Christian and non-Christian alike.

For reasons only fully known to God, He permitted these five men to die that January day back in 1956. We need to remember though that their lives were not taken, they were given and from the ashes of this tragedy the Woadoni came to know that Christ came and died that they might have life and have it more abundantly. These men knew what the cost might be and they were willing to pay it. May we be willing to do the same... no matter what.


K :princess:

This blog is part of a series entitled Those Who Counted The Cost... And Paid It

 K Reynolds
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Dear sister, I have the books and the movies and I never tire of them. Jim Elliot is one of my heroes in Christ and I love the quote you mentioned. The beauty of it all is that his widow, Elizabeth Elliot returned years later to find a people ready for the Gospel. I am not suggesting that I or anyone will every fully fathom how God works, but we can all recount the events. A friend of mine who was a missionary in Ecuador tells me that the Waodani still speak of Jim Elliot and his companions. It was the manner in which they died that moved them ... facing death with hope and courage. I can only wonder at the courage and love of a woman who would go back to the same people who killed her husband to minister to them and to share the Gospel of Christ. In my latest blog "Integrity Lost, 'Tolerance' Gained - Ashamed of The Gospel" I quoted Matthew 5:44-45 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. -- Matthew 5:44-45 The story of Jim and Elizabeth Elliot epitomizes this. I wonder what would happen if we would treat Gay Rights Activists and Pro-Choice Proponents in the same manner. Far too often we fail to see and learn from the example of Christians like the Elliots and more importantly the exhortation of Scripture. Don't you think it is about time we get off our self-righteous and judgmental high horses and focus on sharing the Gospel in love instead? Wouldn't it be wonderful?

Thanks you for the blessing in the sharing of this reminder.

Love in Christ,