The Power of Biography Pt 2

Posted: November 13, 2010 in christianity, church, global, mission, theology, Uncategorized

This week I finish up the last of the missionary biographies for my Communicating and Serving Cross Culturally Class at Fuller Seminary. For my second I chose Jim Elliot the martyr who died by the hands of the Auca Indians. As I read through the selected excerpts from his journals and letters I slowly discovered the second way that Christian biography has the power to speak into our lives. It is through seeing not just the big exploits and great accomplishments of those who have gone before us but seeing their struggles and weaknesses. I love how in James it talks about how Elijah was a “human being even as we are” (James 5:17). This is what I felt as I read the biography of Jim Elliot. It was not that he was in another category as a human but because he was a human and struggled with some of the same things I am struggling with that I was able to hear his life speak today. When I read that he woke up too late for his morning devotion or was feeling unsuccessful in his ministry or that he was head over heels in love I realize this is a

    man

who was used by God. The key word is a man and that encapsulates all of the idiosyncracies and struggles that are involved with being human. This means that with all of my faults and failures and weird little quirks I can be used by God as well. Here are some quotes from Jim’s biography Shadow of the Almighty that inspire me to acknowledge my humanity and somehow reach for eternity:

Let not the longing slay the appetite for living

One treasure, a single eye, a sole master

God I pray thee, light these idle sticks of my life that I may burn for thee

This last one was quoted at a conference way back in 1999 and encouraged me to set my heart in pursuing full time ministry and giving my all to God. I pray that it encourages many more to know the joy of giving their lives away for something greater.

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose

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