Monday, September 3, 2007

Elisabeth Elliot on Missions

I’ve been in an Elisabeth Elliot phase lately, meaning that I ordered several of her books and have been reading them. I liked this quote from her introduction to “The Savage, My Kinsman.” Here she describes her situation when she was living in the jungle among the Aucas, the people who had killed her husband a few years before.

"The word 'missionary' may call to mind preaching, teaching, church-building (and even this often means merely a physical plant, rather than a spiritual building), medical work, baptizing, catechizing, social improvement-almost any form of philanthropy. I found myself quite unable to undertake any one of these activities. A strange position for one who was called a missionary. I began to search my Guidebook to learn whether my definition had been an accurate one. The word 'missionary' does not occur in the Bible. But the word 'witness' does. I found many passages indicating that I was supposed to be a witness. One in particular arrested me. It stated that to be a witness to God is, above all, to know, believe, and understand Him.* All that He asks us to do is but means to this end. He will go to any lengths to teach us, and His manipulation of the movements of men-Aucas, missionaries, whomever- is never accidental. Those movements may be incidental to the one thing toward which He goads us: the recognition of Christ."

*Isaiah 43:10

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