Jim Elliot, a modern-day martyr, gained international recognition when he died with four others at the hands of Auca Indians. An entry in his personal journal makes this observation: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
Dick Bridgman, whose ministry is with the businessmen, told me recently over lunch that winning men to the gospel of Jesus Christ is “all about presence.” He explained that gaining an audience with professionals in the business world means simply spending time doing what they do [like golf] and listening. During that process God opens doors for, as Jesus told Paul: “…to open their eyes and to turn them from darkness to light…”
During the last year Kathe and I have been preparing to spend two years in South Africa as missionaries. While as the time approaches we are investing energy in leaving, we cannot ignore continuing to invest energy in the people around us. Again, Jim Eliot said it this way: “Wherever you are, be all there.” Too often I have been having a conversation with someone but really am somewhere else in my mind. Jesus tells us to “…go make disciples…” and God has led us to a specific geographic area. That cannot be done by being physically present but mentally somewhere else. Today I cannot be thinking of the future…thinking of someplace else. That is not the hallmark of a disciple. Our journey with Christ requires that we be fully present in the present.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “It is only by living completely in this world that one learns to live by faith.” We learn the art of living by faith by living in the present and trusting the One who controls what we cannot keep.