I don’t know if I have ever chosen to read a biography on my own. I really haven’t ever been drawn to random people’s lives and/or their stories. But boy oh boy have I been missing out all these years!
I bought Elizabeth Elliot’s biography because it slightly peaked my interest, but more so because I felt I should. It would be good for me rather than it will change me, is what I thought. I will say, it did make me nervous picking up a book picturing Elizabeth and her 2 year old daughter walking into the Amazon jungle. What if this story of a pioneer missionary was God’s way of slowly gripping my heart and pulling ME to some exotic jungle mission?
Ha! I laugh at my worry. I mock my silly immature nervousness! Or rather, more truly, I am disgusted by my tiniest iota of “Oh no, what if God will call us to the mission field after seminary?!” But I want to be clear, the part that I mock, is not the “mission field” part, but the “oh no” part. I do not roll my eyes at my worry, as if to somehow comfort myself that God would never call us to be missionaries. Because if God DID call us, it would be for our absolute joy in him and His utmost glory. I laugh not at the possibility of getting called to mission work, but at my fear of it! How dare I fear any path that the Lord would bring me! How immature that I would even consider not picking up a missionary book, as if it would prolong or even prohibit God calling me to something as sacrificial as life itself.
Jesus said, “Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.“
John Gibson Paton said, “If I but live and die serving the Lord Jesus, it will make no difference to me whether I am eaten by cannibals or by worms; for in the Great Day my ressurected body will arise as fair as yours in the likeness of our risen Redeemer.“
Death is not my highest worry. Pain is not my greatest threat. Being a missionary isn’t the object of my avoidance. No. My greatest fear is that I would live half-heartedly for Jesus. My highest threat is that I would chase comfort before Christ. My worst nightmare is gaining the world and loosing Jesus.
As I laid down the first night of reading the biography, fear and wonder filled my mind as I fantasized all the possibilities of God’s call of our lives. But I stopped myself short. God has not called us to be exotic missionaries (at least not that we know of yet). My job tomorrow, I determined in my mind as my eyelids grew heavier and heavier, is not to go out into the world and preach the gospel to unreached people groups. My job tomorrow, is to wake up, go out into the living room and preach the gospel to my reachable toddlers, husband, and even self.
As I now sit here with my 2-year-old-early-waker “helping” me journal, I need not question or fantasize God’s call for my life. It’s obviously, wondrously, breathing (and maybe pooping) right here on my lap. Tomorrow, the call might be different, or change, or have a new nuance. But I’ll find that out tomorrow. Right now, I have all I need to live a faithfully, full-hearted life for Christ.
“You already know a great deal more than you practice. You do not need the acquirement of fresh knowledge half so much as to put in practice that which you already possess.” -Fancois de la Mothe-Fenelon