April’s fools

Today I found myself thinking about these words of the late Jim Elliot, a missionary killed in 1956 in the jungle of Ecuador. “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” Those words remind me of a question Jesus put to His disciples when he asked them, “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26) Jim Elliot had the answer to that question figured out at a young age. Jim Elliot was no fool.

He was only twenty-eight when he died but he had already chosen “that which he cannot lose.” Perhaps he had taken to heart these instructions of Jesus,

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

Sounds like Elliot realized this simple truth earlier than most, which is “you can’t take it with you.” And yet we live like we can often, dedicating ourselves to accumulating “wealth” – for what purpose? I now have to ask myself. Nothing here is guaranteed. It is all transient and temporary. On the other hand, what Elliot was referring to as “that which he cannot lose” is eternal. 1 Peter 1:3-4 gives us this assurance –

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.”

So, my inheritance is being kept in heaven for me and it will never “perish, spoil or fade.” This definitely seems like the wiser option to me, as it did to Jim Elliot. Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 4:18 also let me know I would be foolish to put my trust or my hope in the things or “riches” of this world. Why? because they are not going to stand the test of time. They are not going to last.

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

I don’t want to be a fool, an April fool, or any other kind. I don’t want to be thought of as foolish. Still, if I am thought “foolish” by the world’s standards, that might not be a bad thing. Consider these words,

“Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.” (1 Corinthians 3:18-19)

I guess that’s the key – not pursuing what the world calls wise, but seeking God’s wisdom. And He has promised to provide it.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” (Proverbs 1:7)

I wonder if there is a day set aside to celebrate wisdom? I know I am always in need of wise counsel, which I find daily in God’s word. God’s wisdom is available to me 24/7 and He never sleeps nor slumbers. These words from Proverbs remind me just how important Godly wisdom is.

“Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. . . . She is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who lay hold of her will be blessed.” (Proverbs 3:13-18)

“to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.” (Romans 16:27)

sincerely, Grace Day

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