Mothers and Missions: A Lesson From Jim Elliot

Parents must resist the urge to hinder their children in the work of missions under the guise of parental protection.

Moms: fight the temptation to sentimentalize your calling and clasp your children in the death grip that cloaks itself as mother love.

What a higher calling to suffer with your Lord and Savior in sending your sons and daughters with the message of his suffering and glory.

Take encouragement from gospel mothers from the past and meditate on this letter from Jim Elliot to his parents:

I do not wonder that you were saddened at the word of my going to South America. This is nothing else than what the Lord Jesus warned us of when He told the disciples that they must become so infatuated with the kingdom and following Him that all other allegiances must become as though they were not. And He never excluded the family tie. In fact, those loves which we regard as closest, He told us must become as hate in comparison with our desires to uphold His cause.

Grieve not, then, if your sons seem to desert you, but rejoice, rather, seeing the will of God done gladly. Remember how the Psalmist described children? He said that they were as a heritage from the Lord, and that every man should be happy who had his quiver full of them. And what is a quiver full of but arrows? And what are arrows for but to shoot? So, with the strong arms of prayer, draw the bowstring back and let the arrows fly—all of them, straight at the Enemy’s hosts.

Surely those who know the great passionate heart of Jehovah must deny their own loves to share in the expression of His.1

Model the humility of Christ who did not consider even “equality with God a thing to be grasped,” and let go—even sending your children out with the joy that what is given to God is never lost.

1. Shadow of the Almighty: The Life & Testament of Jim Elliot by Elisabeth Elliot, p. 132.

Scott Dunford

Scott Dunford is the pastor of Redeemer Church in Fremont, Ca., and vice president of Bayseed Collective, a church planting network in the San Fancsisco Bay Area. He cohosts The Missions Podcast. Previously he served as vice president of mobilization and communications with ABWE after his time on the field as a missionary. He and his wife, Tara, have one daughter and three sons.