Training “Jim Elliots” in a Seinfeld Generation

Jim_ElliotI am totally aware of the fact that Seinfeld is no longer prime time television and that we are a few years now into the show’s reruns.  What I am addressing is the fact that the show’s portrayal of “today’s man” still lingers on. The passive, non-aggressive nice guy mentality seems to have influenced even those in Christian circles. The slightest dogmatism or statement of an exclusive nature can readily be labeled as authoritarian, intolerant, and harsh.  Ecclesiastes 10:12 says the “words of a wise man are gracious” and Proverbs 12:18 “There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword.” We must be gracious, recognizing that our demeanor can be very offensive if we are not wise in our speech and conduct.  With that said, I want to quickly insert that we are in a crisis hour standing in need of crisis men.  Men who will unashamedly pursue God’s will for their lives with passion and great resolve.  Men and young men who will battle passivity and run with their faces to the wind.

In this continuing series on “Heroes” and following up on my “Crisis Man” article about Jim Elliot and his generation, I would like to offer some thoughtful observations about living for God, godly men, and seeing the next generation want to give their all for God.  Perhaps a better way of setting this up would be to ask the questions, “What is it about people like Jim Elliot that stir us to give ourselves more fully to God? Why would I even consider him a ‘Hero?'” Let me emphasize again that this is my opinion (though I think it is a good one!)

People like Jim Elliot became so burdened for a cause that it became the consuming focus of their lives.  For Elliot it was the Aucas, for Amy Carmichael it became temple orphans, for Hudson Taylor is was China’s interior where people had never heard.  As I write this article, just to my right above me are a whole shelf of biographies of people whose lives inspire me because they were wholly given to a burden.  As I read about these lives I am constantly prodded to question where my burdens lie.  Oh, definitely we are burdened people.  Mostly burdened–like Martha–with lots of activity and busyness of life.  We longingly cannot wait until we get a break from the “grind.”  Where is our consuming burden from God?  Is it just some special people like Jim Elliot that get these assignments and the rest of us just admire them?  No, a million times no!  You, Christian, must get your own burden from God! Christian dad or mom, get so burdened about a cause that you cannot help talking about what it is on your heart to your kids.  Twenty-something, get a burden from God now that you can put the full strength of your youth into.  Teenager, you can inspire your peers way beyond your imagination if you will get hold of something God wants to do through you.  Don’t shy away from the size of the burden.  You may share what’s on your heart and someone may say, “That’ll never happen.” “How in the world will you ever expect that to be done.”  Let me remind you that if were at Starbucks a long time ago and listened to Nehemiah talk, hardly any of us would have thought those walls would get built.  How about having a latte while listening to Esther describe her burden for the Jews, or Elijah’s burden that God would be vindicated in a heathen land.  Which one of us would have quit our job and signed up on one of  those ministry teams?  All I am saying is that when God gives burdens, they are God-sized.  That means they will look not possible.  If Caleb as an older man can say, “Give me that mountain” then we can do that too!  Christian, member of Bethel, ask for a burden from God.

A word about burdens: they grow over time.  Maybe that is the subject of another article.  Get into your Bible and observe others’ burdens.  Read Shadow of the Almighty and other biographies about burdened people.  Ask for a burden!  “With God all things are possible.” That verse is still in the Bible, isn’t it?

One Response

  1. Amen, Pastor. Great article!

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