June 18, 2019
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 18 June 2019
Jim Elliot is a well-known Christian missionary. Nearly three years of jungle ministry, in addition to many hours of planning and praying, led him to a momentous day in 1956. Jim and four companions would be erecting camp in the territory of a dangerous and uncivilized tribe in Ecuador, then known as the Aucas, for the purpose of sharing the gospel of God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Even though the mission was dangerous, Jim knew the Aucas needed to know who Jesus is.
While a student at Wheaton College, in 1948, he wrote a journal entry as follows: “Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road; make me a fork, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me” (Elisabeth Elliot, Shadow of the Almighty[1958; reprint, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1989] 77). Although the initial meetings with the Aucas appeared friendly, the Auca warriors eventually speared to death all five missionaries.
The yearning to make an eternal difference in the lives of others was abundantly answered. The deaths of the five young missionaries inspired generations of Christians. Sixty years later, the sacrifice of the five missionaries who died in an attempt to share the gospel with the Aucas has resulted in reconciliation and transformation within the tribe. In their deaths, the five missionaries inspired more people to become missionaries who would share the grace of God in Christ Jesus than they ever could have in life. In the present time, the need for devoted followers of God who will dedicate themselves to making an eternal difference in the lives of others is still an urgent task.
One of the attributes needed to have a positive effect in the lives of others is courage. Witnessing the virtue of courage in others should inspire gratitude for those who make sacrifices for the benefit of people. Courage in terms of spiritual priorities is certainly what characterized the prophet Elijah (cf. Acts 4:13; 2 Tim 1:7).
The prophet Ezekiel ministered for God while the Lord’s people were in exile. When the Lord commissioned Ezekiel to minister as his prophet, God informed the prophet that He was sending him to a hardened, rebellious, and stubborn nation. Ezekiel’s message would not be well received, yet he was to serve as a watchman (whose obligation was to sound the alarm) and not to be responsible for the response to the alarm. At one point in Ezekiel’s ministry, the Lord God lamented, “‘I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one” (Ezek 22:30).
The moral degradation was so rampant in Jerusalem that none could be identified who adopted a leadership role (cf. 13:5). Ezekiel’s role was to intercede before God as a watchman (cf. Gen 20:7; Jer 37:3; Ezek 33:1-6). Being honest to examine our lives continually for the sake of determining whether we have become callous to our own sin and the offenses of our land is always urgent. Personal concerns are never valid reasons to prevent one from heeding the will of God. Hesitating between opinions may be theoretically respectable and even politically correct, yet it is spiritually unfeasible and intellectually flawed because truth demands action. Elijah was one who discerned the spiritual need in his nation (and almost entirely by himself), and he was bold for the sake of the Lord God. Although the prophet’s world was vastly different than ours, the reasons why he displayed such courage and conviction for the sake of God is as relevant as ever.
Your Missionary to Our Leaders,
Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia
Capitol Commission is prepared to encourage and enable local churches to participate in reaching our capitol communities for Christ (1 Tim 2:1-4). We only need to hear from you, if you have not already contacted us. We also seek to enlist individuals, businesses, and churches to become strategic partners with us in this ministry (2 Cor 8:3-6). Our success as a ministry is based upon God blessing all facets of the ministry, which certainly includes partners in this ministry. We earnestly desire to engage those who desire to participate in the ministry by offering their time and talents (Matt 25:20). If you have not already done so, join us and experience the joy of bringing hope, light, transformation, and truth to those who constitute our capitol communities.