“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
– Matthew 10:37-39
Wheaton College is a small liberal-arts college about 25 miles west of Chicago. Its motto is “For Christ and His Kingdom.” When Jim Elliott went there in the fall of 1945, it was with the objective of preparing himself for the Lord’s service. He eliminated all that he felt would distract him from this objective, dating being one example of such a distraction. He made a habit of getting up early in the morning to have uninterrupted time for prayer and Bible study, but it was not until his junior year that he began to keep a journal as a means of self-discipline. Forcing himself to articulate something on paper helped him to concentrate and gave direction to his devotional times. Here’s a prayer that Jim recorded in his journal during that same year. “God, I pray Thee, light these idle sticks of my life and may I burn for Thee. Consume my life, my God, for it is Thine. I seek not a long life, but a full one, like you, Lord Jesus.”
Jim Elliott was one of five missionaries who was speared to death in 1956 by the Auca Indians as they attempted to share the Gospel with them. Elizabeth Elliott in her book, Shadow of the Almighty, states,
“When he died Jim left little of value, as the world regards values.…Of material things, there were few; a home in the jungle, a few well-worn clothes, books, and tools. The men who went to try to rescue the five brought back to me from Jim’s body his wristwatch, and from…the beach, the blurred pages of his college prayer-notebook. There was no funeral, no tombstone for a memorial.…No legacy then? Was it ‘just as if he had never been?’ Jim left for me, in memory, and for us all, in these letters and diaries, the testimony of a man who sought nothing but the will of God, who prayed that his life would be ‘an exhibit of the value of knowing God.’ The interest which accrues from this legacy is yet to be realized. It is hinted at in the lives of…Indians who have determined to follow Christ, persuaded by Jim’s example; in the lives of many who write to tell me of a new desire to know God as Jim did.…His death was the result of simple obedience to his Captain.”
Are you willing to say to Jesus, “Lord, consume my life?” Are you willing to say, “Lord, my life is Thine, I ask not for a long life, but a full life, like You, Lord Jesus?” Are you willing to say, “Lord, I seek nothing but Your will?” Do you desire for your life to be “an exhibit of the value of knowing God?”
C.T. Studd, was born in England on December 6, 1860, to very wealthy parents. As he grew up, C.T. became a skilled cricket player, such that, throughout England, his name became famous. Yet, he knew something was missing in his life. In 1878, C.T.’s father, Edward, a devout believer, hosted a traveling evangelist in his home. After the preacher explained about Jesus and what He did on the cross, C.T committed his life to Christ.
During his college years, C.T. became part of a group of athletes at Cambridge who met together for Bible study and prayer. They also sought to reach out to other athletes and students on campus with the Good News. Later, C.T. went to a meeting where Hudson Taylor challenged these young men to go to the far corners of the world and share the gospel with people who had never heard it. Thus, C.T. along with six other students from Cambridge (known as the “Cambridge Seven”) dedicated their lives to serving China Inland Missions alongside Hudson Taylor.
At the age of 25, C.T. received an inheritance from his father. He gave most of the money away to those who helped the poor, including George Muller. C.T. served in China, later in India, and finally in Africa, along with his wife, Priscilla, until he passed away in 1931. C.T. wrote what has become a well-know poem entitled, Only One Life. The repeated theme of this poem is this refrain, Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.
Next week, we will dig into the above text, Matthew 10:37-39, and discover three conditions that are necessary if one desires to live a life consumed for Christ and Christ alone. Remember, only one life, ‘twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.