In a recent conversation, Matt Hahn, our officiant, asked Paul and I to provide him with quotes from theologians and pastors we admired. Immediately, I thought about this one:
“Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.” Jim Elliot, The Journals of Jim Elliot
Jim and his wife, Elisabeth, served as missionaries in Ecuador in the early 1950s among the Huaorani people. Several months after establishing contact with the Huaorani, Jim and four of his fellow missionaries were killed by Huaorani warriors. Elisabeth continued to work as a missionary among the people who had killed her husband. She eventually published a copy of Jim’s journals, which is where this quote comes from.
The last six years have been full of change: three different towns, four houses, and more jobs than I can count. And, in twenty-two short days, my life will change yet again as I become Paul’s wife. Throughout all of this change, the Lord has taught me over and over again one lesson in particular–be fully rooted wherever I am. Regardless of what town I live in, who my neighbors are, and what job I have, the Lord has called me to give myself fully to that community. It does not matter what place I find myself in, because there are no greener pastures with the Gospel. Wherever the Lord calls me to be and to put down roots, that place is worthy of my efforts.
I am to withhold nothing. I am to be kind, to show patience, and to serve. This is the high standard that Christ has called me to–to be all there. I have found that I am more likely to fail than succeed–to be short-tempered rather than gracious or ungrateful rather than thankful. The Lord is calling me to be fully rooted as Paul’s wife and in a new community. At once, I am excited and apprehensive. Yet, I know that with Christ, I can be all there because as Paul writes in 2 Timothy 1:7, God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline and, as he exclaims in Ephesians 3:20, the Lord is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us.