The Final Step: Obedience

The Final Step: Obedience

The following exert is from the book What Makes a Missionary by David M. Howard


The bottom line of this account is simple, straightforward obedience. That must be the bottom line in your life and my life as the Lord Jesus tries to speak to us.

Jim Elliott, my brother-in-law, was killed in Ecuador in 1956 by the Auca Indians. In the aftermath I went there to be with my sister Elisabeth and to help her get reoriented and reestablished in her home without her husband. During that time they were newspaper reporters and press men who had come in to cover the dramatic story, which received worldwide press coverage.

Among those journalist was one of the top photographers of Life magazine. His name was Cornell Copa. Cornell had come to prepare a major feature article for Life. It was published a week or two later, 12 four pages. I remember Cornell, just before he left Ecuador to return to New York, calling the five widows together.

We were sitting in Marge Saint’s home in Shell Mera, and he said, “Ladies, I’m going back to New York tomorrow to prepare my article for Life magazine. I have all the pictures that I need. You ladies have been gracious in allowing me to read your husbands’ diaries and letters, and you’ve answered my questions completely. I have all that I need – except one thing. Unless I can understand this one thing, I can’t write my story. It will make no sense.”

One said, “What is it you need, Cornell?”

“For the life of me, I cannot understand why those men went there in the first place. It doesn’t make any sense.“

One of the widows turned to him and said, “Cornell, we can answer that in one word: obedience. Our husbands went in obedience to the last command of Jesus Christ. Just before He went back to heaven, Jesus Christ said to His disciples, ‘You are to go to all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.’ The Aucas are part of God’s creation. The gospel has never been preached to them. Our husbands went in obedience to what Jesus Christ said. Yes, they died in the process, but that is not the important point. The important point is that they obeyed what Jesus Christ told them to do.”

Since that time until blessings have come because of the obedience of five men who are willing to lay down their lives in response to what Jesus Christ told them to do.

I don’t know what Jesus Christ may ask you to do. He may break into your life and turn it upside down and make you something different than you’ve ever thought of being. He may want to give you the privilege of sharing the gospel with some who have never heard it. If He does, will you respond as Peter did and say, “Yes, Lord, I’ll leave everything and follow You?”

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