April 8, 2021 – Hebrews 11:1-16
One of my favorite missionary testimonies comes from the lives of Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Pete Fleming, Roger Youderian, and Jim Elliot. In September 1955, these five missionaries were able to find a secluded Ecuadorian tribe called the Waodani using Nate’s small airplane to look from the air. The Waodani were a feared people group, even among other South African tribes, perceived as aggressive and often violent.
The missionary families were determined, however, to share the everlasting love of Jesus Christ with them, and once they were able to locate their villages, they began using Saint’s airplane to drop small gifts, hoping to build goodwill before a face-to-face meeting.
Finally on Jan. 3, 1956, the five men landed along a river beach near the village to attempt to meet the Waodani on the ground. Just five days later all five were speared to death.
This was not the end of the story. Some of the wives and family continued reaching out to the tribe, continuing the important missionary work and insisting that God forgives and loves everyone; even those members of the Waodani who had murdered their loved ones. After years of faithful persistence, many of the natives gave their lives to Jesus, including those who had killed Nate, Ed, Pete, Roger, and Jim. Nate’s oldest son Steve continued ministering to this tribe for decades and his grandson Jamie is a missionary pilot as well.
Hebrews 11:13 says, “All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth.”
Nate Saint and his fellow missionaries had a plan to evangelize the Waodani, and they likely expected to see the fulfillment of that vision in their lifetimes, but their faithful investment would only bear fruit years after their death. Following Jesus in a life of faith doesn’t guarantee we will witness the fruits of our labors, but it does guarantee those labors will bear fruit.
Know that God is doing something through your life that will resonate into eternity when you faithfully surrender to his will for your life.
Questions for reflection:
- How do you interpret the definition of faith found in Hebrews 11:1, “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.”?
- What is an area where you are faithfully invested, hoping to see fruit from your efforts?
- What does it mean to surrender those efforts to God, even if it means you may not see the fruit yourself?