Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Man has one thing to do

In 1956 Jim Elliot and four other missionaries were killed in Ecuador.  They had been trying to reach the Acua Indians for some time and had finally landed their plane on the river.  They were all speared shortly thereafter.

But work did not stop in reaching the Aucas.  Their families and others continued their work.  Elizabeth Elliot wrote a book about her time after her husbands death and the time she later spent reaching the Aucas and time spent living with them.

Many told her she needed to come home, to give up, to quit trying to reach those people.  In her book The Savage, My Kinsman she gives great advice for all seeking God's plans.

"It was clear to me that the central issue was not of methods.  Something could go wrong with the very best plan.  Some unexplained factor could throw off the wisest calculations.  I simply asked the Lord to do what he wanted to do about it.  For once in my life I had no suggestions to make to Him about how He was to do it.  I placed myself in his hands, saying that if He wanted to give me a part in reaching the Aucas, I was ready.  I had noticed throughout the Bible that, when God asked a man to do something, methods, means, materials, and specific directions were always provided.  The man had one thing to do: obey."

Too often we focus so much on the methods, that we forget God always equips what he calls us for.   I am as prone as everyone else to thinking that if I can just figure out the right system, the right methods, then it will all fall into place.  She wrote these words while contemplating God's plan for her and her young daughter.  Had God called them to reach the Aucas?  If God had called then all we must do is obey.

 For a pastor working to revitalize a church, these words have great meaning.  We often think that all our church needs is better methods, better practices, and then it will all fall into place.  Even if we have the best plan and the purest hearts, something will not go as planned.  It certainly did for Jim Elliot and the others killed.  But if God calls us to something, methods, means, materials, and specific directions are provided from the Lord.  Take comfort in your calling from the Lord and do the one thing required you: Obey.

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