Jim Elliot was a missionary in Ecuador in the 1950’s. He felt God’s call to seek and save the lost. He was passionate about missions and longed to be on the mission field. He felt that God wanted to use him in a powerful way. And He did.
Like many young missionaries, he was discouraged from going to the mission field. When friends and family could no longer convince him to avoid the dangers of jungle life in South America, many well-meaning brothers and sisters in the US pointed to the great need for preaching the Gospel near home. Nevertheless, he was unshaken in his commitment to serve the Lord in South America.
In a letter to his parents, he wrote the following words:
“I do not wonder that you were saddened at the word of my going to South America. This is nothing else than what the Lord Jesus warned us of when He told the disciples that they must become so infatuated with the kingdom and following Him that all other allegiances must become as though they were not. And He never excluded the family tie. In fact, those loves which we regard as closest, He told us must become as hate in comparison with our desires to uphold His cause.
“Grieve not, then, if your sons seem to desert you, but rejoice, rather, seeing the will of God done gladly. Remember how the Psalmist described children? He said that they were as a heritage from the Lord, and that every man should be happy who had his quiver full of them. And what is a quiver full of but arrows? And what are arrows for but to shoot? So, with the strong arms of prayer, draw the bowstring back and let the arrows fly – all of them, straight at the Enemy’s hosts.
“Surely those who know the great passionate heart of Jehovah must deny their own loves to share in the expression of His” (page 132, Shadow of the Almighty: The Life & Testament of Jim Elliot by Elisabeth Elliot).
I am thankful for parents who train their children up in the Lord in such a way that they choose to serve Him in foreign lands. I am thankful for the parents who in quiet prayer let go of their children and allow them to serve as Christ’s ambassadors far from home. I pray for those parents who will some day have to decide if having their children close to home is worth more than having spiritual grandchildren all over the world.
Parents of missionaries, join with us, your children in sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ! Strengthen us with your prayers. Support us with words of encouragement. Send us with your blessing so that we might be a blessing to others.