“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” -Jim Elliot
When I was in 8th grade I did a project on a famous person from history. I chose Jim Elliot the missionary to the Auca tribe in Ecuador. He was killed by the tribe in 1956 while attempting to befriend and witness to them. A modern day martyr.
Today, while doing dishes at the kitchen sink (trying to load the dishwasher faster than my 11 month old could unload it), that quote by Jim Elliot popped into my head.
It was so profound to me as an 8th grader because it was his quote that explained so well and gave purpose to the tragic ending of his life. That was the year I got baptized. I decided I too wanted to be a missionary. And someday I wanted my death to count for something too.
But today, 13 years later, I realized that quote is so profound because of his life, not just his death. As a missionary to unreached peoples he gave his life up everyday. The harsh lifestyle of the remote jungle, the danger of flying small planes in rough terrain, and the daily threat of not being well received by the people. It was a sacrificial lifestyle, not just a sacrificial ending.
13 years later I still want to be like Jim Elliot. I’m not a missionary in a foreign land. I’m a stay at home mom in the U.S. I can’t tell you what my ending will be, whether I’ll die for the glory of God, but I can live sacrificially today. When I am tempted to be jealous at working women who seem to actually be contributing to society, I can rebuke that feeling and tell myself that raising God fearing babies is more than productive. I can choose to see my daily tasks of keeping a house and cooking meals as a way to love and honor the Lord, instead of feeling sorry for myself that my life is at times mundane.
I can give the hours of my time that I cannot keep to the little girl hanging off my leg. And in that sacrifice I’ll gain what I cannot lose, the delight of the Lord as I honor Him in motherhood. And I’ll be no fool to do so.