by Elisabeth Elliot
Every one of us who loves Jesus Christ is meant to reveal that love in the way we live. Missionaries are meant to be people who love Him enough to carry that message to others, whether they must cross an ocean or simply cross a street. When Jesus lived here on earth, His life witnessed to the truth, every minute of every hour of every day of every week of every month of every year. He did always those things that pleased the Father.
He told the Jews that He had other things to say to them in condemnation, but that wasn’t for Him to do. He was simply to declare the Father in His own person in the revelation of His life. That’s what a missionary is to do. It’s what you and I are to do. In this Gospel lies the mystery of the ages, and whoever hears shall live. Jesus Christ is God, revelation and rock of offense.
The true servant knows that not only is he himself disposable, but what he does is also disposable. The servant of Christ belongs to Jesus. He is not his own. He has surrendered his all to Jesus Christ. Obedience is his sole responsibility. The results of that obedience? They are God’s.
Can we learn that lesson? We all have crucial lessons in life, lessons the learning of which takes us straight to the cross. We have to learn what it means to die
“God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform.
He plants His footsteps in the sea and rides upon the storm.
Blind unbelief is sure to err and scan His work in vain.
God is His own interpreter and He will make it plain.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace.
Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour.
The bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.”
Jesus sent out His disciples with very clear descriptions of the kind of reception they were going to have. Not very hospitable. Not very warm and open and receiving. What do we expect in today’s world?
The great question is, “Do I love Him? Am I willing to give my life to Him, regardless of what the results of that gift may be? Am I prepared to say, ‘Yes, Lord’?” In acceptance lies peace. I am not my own.
There’s a lovely little African legend about Jesus. Understand, it is not in the Bible. It is only a legend. But I think it’s not sacrilegious and I do believe that there’s a strong lesson here for all of us. It certainly was a lesson that hit me between the eyes. It’s the legend of the stones.
Jesus was walking one day with His disciples and asked each one to pick up a stone to carry for Him. They all picked up a stone. Peter, rather a small one; John, a bigger one. Jesus led them to the top of a mountain and then He commanded the stones to be made bread. The disciples were by this time hungry, and so they were given permission to eat the bread in their hands. Of course, Peter didn’t have very much. John shared with him some of the bread that had been made from the stone he had carried.
On another occasion, the same Jesus took the same disciples for a walk and again asked them to pick up a stone to carry for Him. This time you can imagine that Peter picked up a bigger stone. But Jesus did not take them this time to the top of the mountain. He took them to the river. As they stood on the bank looking with questions in their minds to Him, He said, “Throw the stones into the river,” which they did at once in obedience to His command. Then they looked at Him, expectantly waiting for the miracle that would happen this time.
Nothing happened. They waited. They watched. Nothing happened. Jesus, with great compassion, looked on these disciples whom He loved and He said, “For whom did you carry the stone?”
For whom do you carry the stone today? For yourself? For success? For notoriety? For the accomplishment of some great dream that you have held always in your heart? Or is it for Jesus?
The psalmist said, “In Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” Jesus, for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross. Let us not label ourselves followers of Jesus Christ until we have gladly and unreservedly taken up that cross and said from our hearts, “I will follow You, Lord. Work out Your whole will in my life at any cost, now and forever.”
Remember the story of Betty Scott Stamm? She and her husband went to China as missionaries. They were beheaded. Betty Scott Stamm had prayed that prayer: “Lord, I give up all my plans and purposes, all my own desires and hopes, and accept Thy will for my life. I give myself, my life, my all utterly to Thee. Do what You will with me. Work out Your whole will in my life at any cost, now and forever.” The cost was her life. She was beheaded. God was in charge of the results, but her testimony has encouraged countless thousands, of whom I am only one.
So I ask you today, “For whom are you carrying the stone?”
“In this little time does it matter,
As we work and watch and wait,
If we’re filling the task He assigned us,
Be it labor small or great?”
From a transcript of Elisabeth Elliot’s Gateway to Joy program. Series Title: “Missionary Musings”, Date: November 5 & 6, 1997. Copyright ©1997 Good News Broadcasting Association, Inc. (Back to the Bible), Lincoln, Nebraska, USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Photography: JenniMarie Photography