Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: GAMBLE (04/14/16)
TITLE: He is No Fool
By Lisa Enqvist
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A few words from a booklet named “DO NOT SAY” challenged him and changed his plans completely. The words were: “If our Master returned today to find millions of people un-evangelized, and looked to us for an explanation, I cannot imagine what explanation we should have to give … Of one thing I am certain that most of the excuses we are accustomed to making with such good conscience now, we should be wholly ashamed of then.”
Those words led James to a decision which many thought was crazy. It looked like he gambled his promising future away, losing himself working among Lisu tribal people in a remote mountainous part of Yunnan, West China.
When the eighteen-year-old Peter Torjesen (1892-1939) from Norway heard the call to China, he not only emptied his wallet into the collection plate, but included a small note with the words, "Og Mitt Liv” – (And my life). It was his stake. ("I'm all in" means, "I bet everything I have".) Torjesen kept his three-word pledge to the Lord, and gave himself for a lifetime of service along with his wife Valborg, in Shanxi, China.
Torjesen found himself in the midst of a Japanese-Chinese war. He continued ministering the gospel during the difficult days of a horrible war. The people of Shanxi province gave him a Chinese name, “Leaf Evergreen.” A Japanese bomb killed him in the shelter where he hid a thousand Chinese refugees.
James “Jim” Elliot (1927-1956), evangelical missionary martyr, was born in Portland, Oregon. In 1945 Jim traveled to Wheaton, IL to attend Wheaton College. His primary goal while there was to devote himself to God. He recognized the importance of discipline in pursuing this aim. Jim’s desire to serve God by taking His gospel to unreached people of the world began to grow while at Wheaton.
Elliot was part of a team of young missionaries murdered in Ecuador in 1956 by the Auca Indians to whom they were witnessing. At the age of 29, he left behind a young widow, a baby daughter, and volumes of personal journals written over many years.
Jim’s short life was filled with the desire to share God’s love can be summed up by a quote found in his journal. “He is no fool who gives that which he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.”
Hebrews chapter eleven shows us a panorama of witnesses through the ages who staked their lives on faith in God and obedience to his call. The great “cloud of witnesses” continues to grow around the world to our days.
Sadly, some Christians seem to have a distorted idea of their place in the race of life; thinking that their position is that of the onlooker. An onlooker has the privilege of both admiring and criticizing the participants of whatever sport might interest them, without ever bearing the burden and sacrifice those involved must experience. God’s call to us is to join the race: “Let us put everything out of our lives that keeps us from doing what we should. Let us keep running in the race that God has planned for us.” Hebrews 12:1
For an onlooker, the lives of Fraser, Torjesen, and Elliot may look like a complete waste. According to the words of Jesus, it was no gamble. His call even today is, “Anyone who wants to follow me must put aside his desires and conveniences and carry his cross with him every day and keep close to me! Whoever loses his life for my sake will save it, but whoever insists on keeping his life will lose it; and what profit is there in gaining the whole world when it means forfeiting one’s self? Luke 9:23-2
Though all three men “died in action” they were no fools. God did not let them “gamble away” their lives. They still bear fruit decades after they are gone.
Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” Daniel 12:2-3 (NIV)
Through Google more information can be found about the life of these men.
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