I have always enjoyed reading the writings of Elisabeth Elliot. She and her husband, Jim, served as missionaries in the jungles of Ecuador back in the 1950’s. They went with a few other Christian families and worked hard studying the language of the Auca Indians, who were notorious for their violent ways. After dropping small gifts to the tribe from their yellow airplane and noting that they were positively received, Jim Elliot and his fellow missionaries, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Roger Youderin, and Peter Fleming, finally decided to make contact with the tribe. But, somehow their meeting with them went horribly wrong. All 5 of the missionaries were speared to death.
Later, Elisabeth Elliot and Rachel Saint (Nate’s sister), went back to their family’s killers and lived amongst them, sharing the gospel. As a result, many of the Auca Indians were saved.
Elisabeth’s testimony is amazing, and she has written many books about her experiences in Ecuador. She has also written much about Christian living and purity. But of all her writings, it is a small passage in a book called The Shaping of a Christian Family that has impacted me most. In chapter 30 of the book Elisabeth’s older brother (also named Jim) asked their father what he should be praying for. According to Elisabeth’s father, the 3 most important decisions a person will ever make in life are these:
1. Choosing Christ as Savior
2. Choosing a Spouse
3. Choosing your Life’s Work
Because Jim had already commited himself to Christ as his Lord and Master, his father said that he should be praying about the other decisions still facing him.
I read this book before my husband and I started a family and decided that those 3 things were the things I would definitely spend time praying about for my children. As I’ve aged, however, I’ve realized more and more just how significant these decisions are.
1. Choosing Christ as Savior: Our children’s eternal destination is of utmost importance to God.
2. Choosing a Spouse: The choice of a marriage partner is not only crucial for the happiness and spiritual growth of my children, but for the spiritual growth and happiness of their children, and possibly unto future generations. If my children’s marriages are not centered on Christ, their spiritual growth will be hindered, and their children could reject the faith. Beyond that, my children need to choose husbands and wives who are fully committed to Christ, who are men and women of integrity, who are hardworking, and who have servants’ hearts. My boys need to choose women who will submit to their leadership, but faithfully lead their children. My girls need to choose men who they deeply respect, who will lead their homes in devotion to Christ.
3. Choosing Life’s Work: How my children spend their time in this short life God has given them is so important to Him. Are they “living a life worthy of the calling they have received” (Eph 4:1)? Are they using their time and talents for His Glory (Matt 25:14-30)? Will the King someday say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant” (Matt 25:21)? The life’s work of our children will have a tremendous impact on the lives of those around them, including their own children, so it is of great importance in God’s sight.
God graciously put it on the hearts of all four of my children to pray to receive Christ as their Savior at a young age. As they grow and I’ve seen the talents God has blessed them with, I am beginning to imagine what line of work God may have in store for each of them, and as they display new and unique character traits, I am also beginning to imagine what type of person might be a good complement to each of them for a future spouse. I am looking forward to seeing how God answers these prayers in the future!
James 5:16 “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”
To find out more about Elisabeth Elliot, check out these websites:
Elisabeth Elliot’s website: http://www.elisabethelliot.org/
Through Gates of Splendor – True life story of Jim Elliot and the four other missionaries who lost their lives trying to bring the gospel to the Auca Indians. http://www.amazon.com/Through-Gates-Splendor-Elisabeth-Elliot/dp/0842371524
Fate of the Yellow Woodbee – Children’s book written about the above missionaries. For ages 9 to 12. http://www.amazon.com/Fate-Yellow-Woodbee-Saint-Trailblazer/dp/1556617437/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1312430500&sr=1-1
The End of the Spear – Powerful movie about the above missionaries. http://www.amazon.com/End-Spear-Louie-Leonardo/dp/B000EXDS4I
The Shaping of a Christian Family – Book mentioned above in my blog. http://www.amazon.com/Shaping-Christian-Family-Elisabeth-Elliot/dp/080075736X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1312473280&sr=8-1
Copyright August 4, 2011 by Gwen Fredette
All Scripture taken from NIV (New International Version)