April 12, 2016

I Commit to His World

Genesis 22:1-18

Charles Haddon Spurgeon said, “The promises of God never shine brighter than in the furnace of affliction.” In all of the Old Testament, including the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, there was never so hot a furnace as the day Abraham stood up on that mountain poised to plunge a knife into his only son as a sacrifice to his God. The stakes could not have been higher; the fate of Abraham’s lineage was in jeopardy. But still, Abraham obediently raised the knife, completely resolved to the fact that his God would provide a way— a way for God’s kingdom to survive, for God’s promise to be kept.

Elisabeth Elliot wrote the following preface to her missionary husband’s biography, Shadow of the Almighty: The Life and Testament of Jim Elliot. [On January 8, 1956, Jim was killed in an attempt to evangelize the Huaorani people of Ecuador.]

Jim’s aim was to know God. His course, obedience—the only course that could lead to the
fulfillment of his aim. His end was what some would call an extraordinary death, although
in facing death he had quietly pointed out that many have died because of obedience to God.

He and the other men with whom he died were hailed as heroes, “martyrs.” I do not approve.
Nor would they have approved.

Is the distinction between living for Christ and dying for Him, after all, so great? Is not the
second the logical conclusion of the first? Furthermore, to live for God is to die “daily,” as
the apostle Paul put it. It is to lose everything that we may gain Christ. It is in thus laying
down our lives that we find them.

If we are to be faithful servants of Jesus Christ, our lives must be marked by obedience. God calls his children in different ways to do a variety of tasks in order to advance his kingdom. While sometimes these tasks seem crazy, we must realize our God does not work within the confines of human protocols. Our job is to obey and trust God no matter what. In order to do this, we must discipline ourselves to place more value on our eternal lives than we do on our finite earthly lives. Jim Elliot eloquently articulated this concept in his most famous quote: “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”