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The Opposite of Fool


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“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” Jim Elliot (Oct. 28, 1949 ~ missionary to Ecuador... for a few days)

You can’t really find a more quoted phrase in the world of missions/missionaries. To those who have heard it a thousand times I suppose it becomes somewhat like the beach to those who live in Hawaii. You start to take it for granted. To Jim Elliot, however, it was a real life & death phrase. He grew up in Portland, OR and dreamed about being a missionary some day. On January 2, 1956, He landed on a beach and spent a few days trying to befriend the then-hostile Auca Indians. Within the week Auca Indians came out of the jungle and killed Jim and the four other missionaries with him (Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Roger Youderian and Pete Fleming) with their spears.

Just two years later, Jim’s wife Elisabeth, his daughter Valerie and his sister Rachel moved to the Aucan Village. Not to seek revenge, but to live out forgiveness. To live out what has come to be called “The Great Commission.”

• Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit… (Matthew 28: 18,19).

Many Aucas have now received Christ. Nate Saint’s son and his family still live among the Auca tribe today.

One of my best friends is doing the same thing in Ethiopia. He and his family are giving what they cannot keep to gain what can’t be lost. To them, being American is secondary to being a disciple of Christ. They are following Jesus’ command to live out the gospel to all nations. Is it easy? Ummm… yeah… like algebra, and the triathlon, and sacrifice. You might get used to it, but don’t think for a second that being a missionary is easy! Do they get paid? Of course they do… but not enough! They’re not in it for the money. Yes… there are the creeps that do it for the money (and they ARE the fools… because if you’re looking for money there are much easier ways to get it… and nicer places to live!) The missionaries I know are in it for God… to share the message of Jesus and how it applies to everyone on earth. These friends of mine are not fools. They are some of the wisest people on earth… willing to give up what they can’t keep anyway… to gain what can never actually be taken from them!

Does this mean anyone who stays in America to share the gospel isn’t really following God? No. It just means that we’re bigger chickens than they are! Missionaries are not in it for the praise. Trust me, there are easier ways to get that too! But they deserve every bit of it they get! Some are my best friends, some have spouses I’ve never met, I went to school with some, some were my pastors, and others I just know in passing. Many of them have families who play just as big a role on the field as the parents do, but they all have this in common: I truly couldn’t be more proud to call these people my heroes of the faith!

Chris​ & Heidi Ness​

Nate​ & Tammy Lashway​

Nancy Horn Raatz​

Tim​ & Beth Lord​

Joy​ & Michael Sander

Nancy Valnes​

Philip​ & Robin Malcolm​

Dwayne & Gayle Turner​

Jonathan​ & Audra Delgatty

Mike​ & Kari Ness​

Steve​ & Amy Shoop​

Mark Flattery​

Chris​ & Heather Schneider​

Doug​ & Tasha Myers

Mark​ & Kristy Schaufler​

Mark Hollis​

John M Wilson​

Ryan​ & Angela McCullough​

Michael​ & Chelly Rody

Gary​ & Naomi Faucett​

Rod​ & Sherry Boyd​

Waldemar​ & Rosemarie Kowalski​