“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep; to gain what he cannot lose.” These words, recorded in Jim Elliott’s personal journal on October 28 1949, are the affirmative conclusion of a young man grappling with the same eternal question posed by the rich young man we encounter today. Unlike this one who walked away sad, Jim Elliott never wavered from his choice. While seeking to evangelize the Huaorani people in Ecuador, he and four other companions became martyrs on January 8, 1956.
St. Ignatius also grappled with this eternal question. “Why do I feel incomplete? What is missing in my life?” His conclusion was as affirming as Elliott’s: “He who forgets himself for God’s service may be sure that God will not forget him.”
As I consider the lives of these three men, I ask myself, “What is it in my life that prevents me from being all I can be for God?”
—Howard Craig is the provincial assistant for Advancement on behalf of the Chicago-Detroit and Wisconsin provinces of the Society of Jesus.