Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Jim Elliot and Jars of Oil

I finally bought a copy of The Journals of Jim Elliot. I’ve been wanting it for quite some time…ever since I read Passion and Purity by his widow, Elisabeth Elliot. The book starts out with Jim’s first journal entry…prompted by a message in Chapel the day before which left him feeling that his time with the Lord was woefully inadequate. I thought as I read that…this is JIM ELLIOT…if his time is inadequate then mine is just a sad and sorry excuse!! So I endeavored to make more of my time…which also means making myself get up even earlier. But this morning I found that the Lord truly does bless a sincere desire to know more of Him! I read about his struggle with his two natures…and how he found comfort in the Word from examples of the “new man” overcoming the “first man”…Abel and Cain, Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau…and thanking the Lord that his “new man can be strongest today!” Then I skipped ahead to the end. The last journal entry was written two days before he was killed by the Auca Indians and in that entry I hear the same Jim…striving to be pleasing to the Lord and convinced that his efforts are not what they should be…yet thankful for His grace and mercy in the midst of battle. I was moved to tears. He never felt that he’d arrived…he never felt a lessening of the fight for faith in this world…and yet he never felt condemned and could always see the kindness of his God. He didn’t wallow in his failures or his estimation of his lack…he leaned on the Lord and moved forward, trusting that His grace would be sufficient to accomplish that which he could only see himself failing in.

Reading that sort of reinforced what I’d read just before in the Word. I was in 2 Kings 4…vs. 3. Elisha tells a widow to gather jars and pour what little oil she has into them. 1 partially filled jar of oil…poured into many other jars. He tells her to gather as many jars as she can and “not too few.”

Not too few.

Me…I’d gather just a couple because in my mind I’d be thinking “I have a partial jar here!” I’d also probably gather small jars so they’d look full with the little I had. But that is not faith…and that is not what the widow did. She gathered many and was able to fill them all. The oil didn’t stop flowing from her partially full jar until all of the jars she’d collected were full. AND there was still oil left in her original jar!!!

How amazing is that? God will fill…use…multiply as much as we are willing to give Him! Whew!

Jim Elliot gave all…he felt it was inadequate, but the Lord spoke to and through this man…and still is. His life, though over on this earth, is not spent and is still a vibrant light and encouragement and reflection of the Gospel.

Would that we all have that sort of legacy!

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