Jim Elliot – The Degree of A.U.G.
In the fall of 1945, Jim Elliot enrolled in Wheaton College in Illinois. He wrote in his journal as he was contemplating this new stage of life, “Many a freshman entering college has no clear idea of what he is there for. Vaguely, it is to “get an education,” but many have done this without going to college, and many have gone to college without getting and education.
Jim did, however, have a clear idea of what he was there for at least in one sense. He was not there to get a piece of paper. But as he said in his own words, he wanted the degree of A.U.G. or Approved Unto God.
This attitude changed the way he acted in college. He was not there to have a good time or find a potential spouse. He was there to be a servant and a man of God. He used his time wisely and was more concerned about the things of God than the social events on campus. This did not mean he did not every enjoy himself or relax. He was on the wrestling team and enjoyed spending time with his friends. But it does show his one focus of serving the Lord. He started a prayer meeting and participated in the Student Foreign Missions Fellowship. He traveled around and began to speak on the need for missionaries around the world.
He began to study the need for the Gospel around the world, and interestingly enough, God began to burden his heart for the world. He began to study the need around the world compared to the need in America, and he concluded that if he stayed in the states, the burden of proof would lie with him to show that he was justified in doing so. He began planning to go to the mission field and took his first missions trip in the summer of 1947 with a friend of his who’s parents were missionaries in Mexico. They hitchhiked their way to Mexico, and Jim had an opportunity to see the need firsthand. His heart was burdened, and he was thankful for the chance to see a little bit of what missionary life is like. He concluded that missionaries were very ordinary people, just doing what God has commanded. He wrote that they are, “Simply a bunch of nobodies trying to exalt Somebody.”
Although there was a lot a work ahead of him and much that he had to learn, Jim Elliot had set his face towards those who had never heard. His calling was not one of a single moment or experience. Instead, it was one that began with a study of God’s Word and a study of the need for the Gospel around the world. His calling came from the command of Christ to preach the Gospel to every creature, and Jim Elliot knew that there was no better way to be approved unto God than to obey his command to reach the world with the Gospel.
I want to ask you a straightforward question for you to think about as I finish this article. Are you living for the approved unto God degree, or are you living for anything else in this life?
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