Too Soon To Die?

“I must not think it strange if God takes in youth those I would have kept on earth till they were older. God is peopling eternity and I must not restrict him to old men and women.”

Jim Elliot wrote these words not long before he himself was taken in youth – killed in his late twenties by the savage tribe to whom he was sent as a missionary. But did he die too soon? Was it reckless of him to undertake a missionary endeavour that he knew would put his life at risk? Was it irresponsible of him and unthoughtful towards his wife and young daughter?

The answer would be ‘yes’, if Jim had taken a ‘live long and be happy’ approach to life. However, the answer is ‘no’ because he knew the whole purpose of man is not to live a long life, but, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God” (Westminster Shorter Catechism).

Jim Elliot died young, but that’s not the point. The question is – how did he live? And how did he spend the time that he had? He offered his life, his time, his energy and his abilities to the Lord and lived his life for God’s glory. He didn’t flit away every precious moment and say he would serve God properly when he was older.

Jim risked his life not because of pride or out of a desire for personal achievement, but in obedience to God’s call to take the gospel to men living in foreign countries and pagan cultures. His witness enabled them to find their chief end - to glorify God. We may not be called to do what Jim Elliot did, but we must still glorify God in whatever we are called to do, even in the seemingly small things.

The time that we have to live is here and now. How will you spend it? If you died now what would have been the purpose of your life?

By Becsy Wells

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  1. That is SO challenging! What a reminder of how we should be living!

    I would highly recommend the YOU-TUBE clip "Cancel your Facebook account and be a man" by Paul Washer as it talks about some young men who SOLD themsleves into slavery so that they could witness to the slaves. What a sacrificial life!They weren't afraid to die for Christ. And we feel good about ourselves when we make it to the midweek prayer meeting!!

    Thanks for this post Becsy!

  2. It is so easy to get into the mindset of presuming that we will live to a 'good old age'! But this is another reminder of the folly of presuming we have 70 or 80 years to live!
    There are many others like Jim Elliot who have made the most of the short time the Lord gave them; David Brainerd, Robert McCheyne, etc.
    I was reading Daniel yesterday; He and his 3 friends were fervent in serving the Lord faithfully in everything, and if that included the possibility of death, then they were more than ready to face it! 'Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us... if not, we will not serve your gods' (Daniel 3:17)
    We are to present ourselves as living sacrifices to God, and He demands perfection in sacrifice, so lets give it the best!
    Im also reminded of another of Jim Elliots quotes, which is very commonly repeated, but perhaps people dont often stop to think about it as much as they ought? 'He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose!' (no matter how young he is)

  3. Thanks for that, Becsy. I particularly found your last comments challenging - how will I spend my life, and if I died now, would would be the purpose of it? I suppose it's all about having the right mindset, isn't it? If we can safely say that our eyes are heavenward and fixed on Jesus, then our lives will be for His glory, and therefore we have found the right purpose in life. As Colossians 3:1-3 says, "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." Our lives ought to be hid with Christ in God; if they are, our lives will have the right purpose. I really recommend the book, "The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life" by Hannah Whitall Smith. She talks about how our lives should be hid with Christ in God, and I found it an excellent book!
    Thanks again Becsy for the challenge - it certainly made me think!

  4. Becsy, this is excellent. Thank you.

    One of the things this brought up for me is how we need to learn to have a joyful spirit while engaged in the Lord's work. I've known a couple of people who were so busy making sure that their lives were devoted to God that they forgot how to enjoy the life and the world that he's given them (monks would probably be a good example of this!)
    To enjoy life (according to God's order and laws etc) is to glorify God. I think what I'm trying to say is that while we do NEED to live our lives in a godly way we should keep reminding ourselves that we GET to live our lives in a godly way. Big difference. Great difference.


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