Give Until You Can Give No Longer

One of my favorite quotes of all time is, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”  This quote was said by Jim Eliot who was a missionary to Ecuador.  The quote is pretty awesome without knowing any of Jim Elliot’s story, but if you take the time to learn more about Jim Elliot’s work, the quote becomes even more remarkable. 

You see, Jim Elliot was one of a group of missionaries who made it a point to reach a people group (the Waodani Indians) that, at the time, had never been reached with the gospel of Jesus Christ.  That’s a pretty daunting task if you ask me.  Along with four other missionaries, Elliot began flying over the Waodani’s village dropping gifts down and making their presence known.
            After several of these flyovers, the missionaries decided to build a base camp just outside of the Waodani village.  There they were met by a small group of the Waodani people.  The meetings had been encouraging so the missionaries had decided to make a journey into the village to meet the rest of the tribe.

There was only one problem.  The small group of Waodani people that they had already met with had not been honest with the rest of the tribe about what these “foreigners’” intentions were.  When the group of missionaries approached the tribe, they were met by a group of warriors who took their lives.  When Jim Elliot wrote this quote, it seems to me that he had every intention of reaching this people group even if it meant his life. 

We have been talking about giving our all the past couple of Sundays at Canvas Church.  Giving our all doesn’t mean giving our tithe and offering and giving some of our time so long as it doesn’t conflict with our budget or busy schedules.  Giving our all means literally being willing to give all that we have in this life which is life itself. 

It may seem extreme, but when was the last time that we truly embarked on a journey willing to give everything that we have to see it through to completion?  With our short attention spans, most of us have a hard enough time completing even the simplest and shortest of tasks.  As Pastor Nick often says, be a part of something that is bigger than you.  So big, in fact, that it is destined to fail unless God intervenes.  Be willing to give everything that you have to see eternal change for the Kingdom of God.  This life is too short to keep holding on the small things and neglecting the things that really matter.  People’s eternal salvation hangs in the balance, and we can play a crucial role in being the vessel through which God draws them to Him.  All we have to do is be willing to give everything that we have and are to see these things come to pass.  It’s not easy, but when was the last time that you did something this impactful without a battle?



3 thoughts on “Give Until You Can Give No Longer

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  1. I love your thoughts about this, James! Too often, I have heard people talk about God as if He were only a “part” of their lives, and hope that I do not treat Him like that. The minute we give ourselves to Jesus, our lives are not our own anymore. We cannot add any more time to our lives than has been given us; the time we do have left belongs to God.

    Radical love is the kind of love Jesus has and continues to give us; if we are following Him, we will also be radical in the ways that we give. As you said, peoples’ salvations hang in the balance…what would we be willing to give to see even our loved ones be saved and accomplish things for Yahweh? Every person on this earth is God’s “loved one” because He created us all. He has and continues to give His all for us.

    1. Thanks, Denise. I always enjoy reading your replies to the blog. You always provide an interesting perspective on things.

  2. Thanks for reminding me of this. Brad and I have been meaning to watch End of the Spear. Jim Eliot knew it was a dangerous situation, and yet he was willing to risk it for the sake of delivering the most precious story of love to complete strangers. Were we all that bold, that self-sacrificing for the message of Christ, the world might be in a very different state. Thanks for sharing Preach!

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