Not a Matter of a Cost-Benefit Analysis

Story of the Day for Saturday November 12, 2011

Not a Matter of a Cost-Benefit Analysis

      Those who suffer according to God’s will should commit their lives to their faithful Creator, and continue to do good.

                                                                  1 Peter 4:19

 Jim Elliot was the class vice-president in high school.   He won the lead role in theatrical plays. In college he lettered in sports and graduated in 1949 with honors.  Popular, handsome, intelligent, and a gifted speaker, Jim’s prospects for the future were bright.  Just a matter of time before he could afford a two-car garage and an electric potato peeler.

But Jim Elliot did not care about money or status or success.  He took a boat to Ecuador and prepared for mission work. In college, he wrote in his journal, “God, I pray thee, light these idle sticks of my life and may I burn for Thee.”


Jim and four friends decided they would bring the Good News of Jesus to the primitive Auca Indians.  The Aucas were known to be fierce, and no missionary had been able to established friendly contact among them.

After depositing gifts for the Aucas, Jim and his fellow missionaries made friendly contact with a few of the natives.  Encouraged by this, the five missionaries flew again into the jungle to further their contact with the Aucas.

But they never returned.  The Aucas murdered them all.


Hah.  See?  That just shows you, doesn’t it?  It’s fine to be committed to the Lord, and all fired up to serve him – but you don’t have to be so fanatical about it.  Look where Jim Elliot’s burning zeal got him, eh?

You’re right — Jim Elliot’s passion to reach the Aucas got him killed.


But, commitment to the Lord is not a matter of scribbling out a cost-benefit analysis.  Jim and his friends were fully aware of the risk they were taking.  And they would never see any fruit from their brave attempts to build a friendship with the Aucas.

Jim would never see his widowed wife, Elizabeth, boldly venture into the jungle to continue his mission and establish contact with the Aucas.  He could not have known that Elizabeth (and wives of the other missionaries) would eventually live among these natives. Who could have known that the forgiveness these young widows showed after the Aucas killed their husbands would be exactly the demonstration the Aucas needed to understand the sacrificial love of Christ?  Through this powerful demonstration of forgiveness, many became converts to Christ.


We are called to commit our lives to the Lord.  We can seldom see the effect that our commitment will have on others.  The beautiful thing is. . .we don’t need to.  All we need to see is God’s promise to be faithful, and that the results of our dedication to his will are in his hands.

He’ll take it from there.

(copyright by and by Marty Kaarre)