“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” ~Jim Elliot
Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, and half a dozen additional team members shared the vision of bringing God’s love to one of he most violent people groups in the world, a tribe known by other natives as the Aucas, “savages.” Leaving the female members at the mission station, the five young men landed their plane by a river in the Ecuadorian jungle. They soon made friendly contact with the Aucas, but shortly thereafter were speared to death and left floating in the river.
The story made headlines worldwide. Following the initial wave of sympathy, however, articles began to appear denouncing the doomed mission and the “foolishness” of the idealistic young missionaries.
End of story? Not quite.
Despite everything, Jim’s widow Elizabeth and Nate’s sister Rachel pressed on. They eventually managed to re-contact the Aucas (Huaoranis). Astonished at their courage, and curious as to how these young women could possibly forgive them, the Huaoranis invited the two women and their children to come and live among them. Elizabeth and Rachel’s compassion soon began to burn a hole in the Huaoranis’ fear-and-vengeance-driven beliefs. “How can we have this peace you have?” they were asked.
Most of the Huaoranis–including those who’d murdered the five young missionaries–adopted their strange, peaceful faith. At first a dozen, then hundreds, and eventually thousands of lives were transformed–not only among the Huaoranis, but also among the people they reached, as well.
A few years later, Nate Saint’s son Steve was baptized — by two of the men who had murdered his father — in the very river where his father died. Why? Because God’s love is sharper than any spear. And all because of a decision to give what cannot be kept to gain what cannot be lost.
God, make me such a fool.