Bible Reading: Mark 6:14-29
If you want to be my follower you must love me . . . more than your own life. Luke 14:26
On Sunday afternoon, January 8, 1956, five young men stood on the sandy beach of a shallow river. They stared into the jungle, looking for the faces of the Auca Indians of Ecuador. For weeks the missionaries had flown their single-engine plane over the river settlement, dropping gifts in hopes of making friendly contact with the Aucas. On the Friday before, an Auca man and two women had made a friendly visit to the missionaries’ beach camp. Now the missionaries waited anxiously for a second face-to-face meeting with the Aucas.
As the five men stood on the river shore, there was a sudden flurry of activity in the undergrowth. Several Auca warriors armed with spears attacked the missionaries. Within minutes the five young men had lost their lives at the river’s edge.
The story of Jim Elliot and the other four missionaries was one of the biggest news stories of the 1950s. Five individuals-and the families they left behind—proved that Jesus’ command to tell the world about him mattered more to them than their own lives. The families of these men continued working in Ecuador and eventually helped the Aucas learn to follow Jesus Christ.
Talk about it: Why would Jim Elliot and his four coworkers try to make friends with a tribe they knew was hostile?
Living for Jesus means nothing is more important to you than finding out what Jesus wants you to do—and then doing it. For these missionaries, that meant sharing Christ with the Aucas.
Most of us won’t ever face a life-and-death test of our faith like the one those five young men met in the jungle. But we can still give our life as a living sacrifice. Do you remember what Paul wrote to the Romans? Read this great verse slowly: “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask?” (Romans 12:1).
Few Christians will ever be called to die bringing the gospel to a jungle tribe. But each of us can keep the command of Jesus to lay down our life by choosing to obey him no matter what he asks us to do or where he leads us!
TALK: What does it look like to live your whole life for Jesus—even if you’re not a missionary?
PRAY: God, give us courage to obey you even when we have to give up everything.
ACT: Many missionaries still put their lives on the line for Jesus. Ask your pastor if your church supports any Christians working in hostile, “closed” countries.