In January of 1956, Jim Elliot and four other missionaries gave their lives in Ecuador in their effort to reach the Waodani (Auca) Indians. This fierce group was known to attack any outsiders, but the vision for reaching them with the gospel compelled these young men to take the risk. Not long after they set up camp near the Waodani village they were attacked by warriors. Refusing to defend their lives with force, the missionaries were killed. The news flashed around the world, and the story of courage and sacrifice challenged many to take up the missionary cause. Even today Elliot’s words live on: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
In a very real sense, Jim Elliot and his missionary friends were living the spirit of Christmas. They were willing to give up the comforts of home and promising careers and to ultimately lay down their lives to take the gospel to those who had never heard. They could have fought back to defend themselves, but they chose not to.
This is what Jesus did for us in coming to Earth. Paul wrote, “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).
Nothing of lasting significance and importance for God is ever accomplished without great sacrifice. Whether it is our time, our talent, our treasure, or even our lives, we must be willing to give up what is temporary for the sake of what is eternal. When we do, we are following the example and pattern of Christ and walking in His steps.