63 years ago today, 5 men died in one of the most famous moments of martyrdom that has yet been witnessed.
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
– Jim Elliot –
I am constantly astounded by these words because what a profoundly simple thing to do—we have convinced ourselves we must protect and hoard everything we have already. That we must acquire and build on—get more, get more, get more.
And yet, when we die or our house burns down, we are robbed or conned, where do all of the possessions leave us? Desolate.
For there is nothing quite like the insane desire to have more and the equivocal emptiness that it creates.
But all the physical can be taken away in a moment, and where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. If your treasure is destroyed, what of your heart?
Jim Elliot’s words register so deeply in that we all know exactly what we have acquired, and in such regard, how much we have to lose if we don’t live with reckless abandon for the Gospel.
I’ve taken an incredibly small amount of deep breaths over the past few years because of all of this striving to get get get. I suppose you could say it’s just been a lot of hyperventilating. Like, a lot, and it regularly manifested itself in a physical way as I would breathe in and out those shallow, shallow efforts of trying to control my own little everything. In and out, in and out—why is it so hard to breathe?
It is so easy to get wrapped up in everything WE MUST do. To act as if the cross really hasn’t paid it all because it cannot possibly be something that doesn’t require a checklist. I need my checklists. My dos and don’ts, and I most certainly need to prove to the world that I AM GOOD ENOUGH! Sound familiar?
We become really consumed with what we should be doing to get closer to God and how we should be acting, and it all becomes really masked because we are afraid someone will find out we aren’t living quite right—EVEN IF WE ARE LITERALLY DOING NOTHING WRONG.
I have spent so long living in fear that maybe someone will “find me out” or think I’m not who I claim to be—maybe I’m not a good enough Christian, a faithful enough friend, a supportive enough daughter… do you see why I resorted to hyperventilating?
There have been so many moments where my mind has decided it is up to me—I have to figure it out; I have to make this all work; I am responsible for saving myself. And the more I equate grace to earning, the more I believe it is about me, up to me, revolving around me.
One of the most wonderful lines I’ve heard in a song about grace was this:
“Some say, He’s keeping score
So try hard, then try and lean on God
Hold up, if this weren’t true
Explain to me, what the cross is for”
Surrender of control and things contains so much reward and crowning glory in the places that really matter—heavenly places, glory places.
God is good, and we are most secure in the laying down of our lives—that’s the nature of the Upside-down Kingdom.
Jim Elliot also said this to the Lord: “…either glorify [Yourself] to the utmost in me or slay me.”
Gain the world, lose the soul, but when we give it all up and seek first the Kingdom, everything else will be thrown in along with it.
He is good, and we are so loved.