A recent conversation led me to share the story of Nate Saint, Jim Elliott and the three other missionaries who gave their lives in the 1950’s trying to help natives in Ecuador with someone who had never before heard their story. One of the widows and the sister of one of the missionaries later went to live with the tribe, taking their children with them, and through their efforts many in the tribe turned from a destructive, violent path almost certain to end in their extinction, to Christianity.
“That’s a very special kind of crazy,” was the response.
She is absolutely right. In our morally upside-down world, it takes a special brand of insanity to offer up your life for someone else without any possible tangible reward.
We value the return on investment above all.
Even in our most altruistic moments, we bear in mind what our actions may net for us:
“Will this extra work earn me a raise or a promotion, or at the very least a pat on the back?”
“Will this little kindness to my spouse promote peace or merit a favor in return?”
“Will I get an allowance for doing this chore?”
What kind of person gives something of incredible value, knowing the one to whom they are giving cannot possibly pay them back…ever?
What would make those mothers – newly widowed – risk the lives of their own children for the sake of the very people who left their children fatherless?
A very special kind of crazy.
The kind of crazy that in smaller doses takes in a child in need of a home. Or provides for a massive financial need. Or donates a kidney.
The kind of crazy that in more extravagant doses throws oneself on a grenade or in front of a bullet. Or runs into a building that is burning or collapsed because maybe there is someone they could save.
The kind of crazy that in the most perfect example of all takes the sin of the whole world on Himself and pays a penalty that He would never deserve so that you and I would never have to pay for it ourselves. It’s a debt that we could never repay and Christ knew that and chose to pay it for us anyway.
Yep, that is a very special kind of crazy.
PS – I loaned her the video “The End of the Spear” which depicts the story and the culture behind the deaths of the missionaries as well as the harvest God has brought through their wives’ ministry. Please join me in praying for greater understanding and a little bit of crazy.