Every year at this time we focus on the Jesus’ coming. He is the source of everything for us. All life, hope, pardon, transformation, and fulfillment rest on him. Grasping this more fully is the key to fueling our love for him and for people. It is vital to tentmakers.
True Christianity is the great anti-religion “religion.” All other religions give insights about how we ought to live but no pardoning grace for failing or power to change. But Christianity is not a set of standards to live by, though its standards are higher. Rather it is God, the Son, becoming human not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Mk 10:45) The sovereign Lord took the judgment we deserve to give us the blessing he deserves.
And did he do this for people who tried to love him with their whole being and their neighbors as themselves? No! He died for us while we were still enemies. (Rm 5:8-10) And do we now love him and people as we should? I know I do not, though I wish to.
Martin Luther said, Daily I sin; daily God forgives me. I see definite change in my life by God’s grace, but never perfection. I am always a debtor to God’s grace. And he even graciously enjoys my imperfect love for the better thing I intended.
The more I grasp his incredible love and grace, the more thankful and indebted I feel, the more loved I feel, the more I love and enjoy him, the more I can admit failure, the more I want to please him, and the more I love and want others to know him. This is vital fuel for tentmakers.
Jim Elliot has greatly impacted me in this area. Jim was one of five missionaries who died at the hand of the Waodoni people they were trying to reach. Though tragic on one hand, God mightily used it to save the Waodoni and to impact the church globally. Listen to Jim’s reflections.
The will of God is sweet tonight, altogether “good and acceptable and perfect.” The considerate love of the Lord Jesus for us seems such a kind thing now. I know it has always been so, but somehow I didn’t see how wise it was when it didn’t seem kind…
Ah, how many Marahs have been sweetened by a simple, satisfying glimpse of the Tree and the Love which underwent its worst conflict there? Yes, the Cross is the tree that sweetens the waters. “Love never fails.” (At Marah Israel complained because the water was bitter (poisonous) and Moses sweetened it with a log God provided.)
Surely those who know the great passionate heart of Jehovah must deny their own loves to share in the expression of His. Consider the call from the Throne above, “Go!” and from round about, “Come over and help us…” Impelled, then, by these voices, I dare not stay home while Quichuas perish. (the first tribe they worked with)
Shortly before he died, Jim wrote: Only I know that my own life is full. It is time to die, for I have had all a young man can have—at least all this young man can have. I am ready to meet Jesus.
As he waited for the Waodoni, he wrote his last diary entry: It is exalting, delicious…to gaze and glory and give oneself again to God — what more could a man ask? Oh, the fullness, pleasure, sheer excitement of knowing God on earth! I care not if I never raise my voice again for him, if only I may love him, please him. Perhaps in mercy he shall give me a host of children (spiritual)… But if not, if only I may see him, touch his garments, and smile into his eyes — ah then, not stars nor children shall matter, only himself.
O Jesus, Master and Centre and End of all, how long before that glory is yours which has so long awaited you? Now there is no thought of you among men; then there shall be thought for nothing else. Now other men are praised; then none shall care for any other’s merits. Hasten, hasten, Glory of Heaven, take your crown, subdue your kingdom, enthrall your creatures.
Jim was captivated by Jesus through constantly feeding on God’s word, meditating on it, praying it, and doing it. Such captivation creates beauty and strength and carries tentmakers through the darkest hours.