When I was a teenager in Brazil, I used to attend a Baptist church with very good Biblical teaching. I remember being encouraged to read the Bible and also good Christian books. I always liked reading and made the most of my free time to devour lots of books. One of the books I read was called “Through Gates of Splendor” by Elisabeth Elliot. The books tell the story of her husband Jim Elliot and four other missionaries who had gone to show Jesus to the unreached people of Ecuador called the Waodani.
I remember reading the book and being amazed these men would go to a place where they knew they could possibly die because o Jesus. In their hearts the desire to see those people saved burned more than the desire for their own life.
I read many other things about Jim Elliot and one of his most famous quotes has always made me think: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” I have come across it many times and still amazes me. We cannot keep our lives and if we give it up because of Jesus we are no fools. And what we gain is Eternal life and that we will never lose. It is guaranteed in Jesus himself. Paid with His own blood.
In Jim’s case he literally lost his life when he was killed in Ecuador, but in our case, loosing it might simply mean giving God full control of it – letting Him lead us where He wants us to be and do what He wants us to. it might also mean standing firm on Him and going against the flow of our society. It could also mean something costly to us – for example: being abandoned by a friend because of Jesus or sent away from home because of Jesus.
The Christian life is costly. Sooner or later every Christian faces opposition or discrimination and we should not be surprised when that happens. What we need to keep in mind is what is secured for us. Eternal life with Jesus and that we will always have. Jesus tells us in the Bible that in this world we will have trouble, but He overcame the world.
John 16:33 “‘I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.’”
I pray that God will help each Christian understand more and more that the cost of following Him is not foolishness. May He help us keep our eyes on Him always.