Jim Elliot’s Story



Nate Saint, Pete Fleming, and Jim Elliot

Nate Saint, Pete Fleming, and Jim Elliot

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” – Jim Elliot

Jim Elliot was the kind of solid, challenging, totally dedicated Christian guy we would want our kids to hang out with and look up to! He is perhaps best known as one of five missionaries martyred in Ecuador more than fifty years ago. He knowingly laid down his life, fulfilling his well known journal entry:  “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”

The missionaries’ story was originally brought to the attention of believers and non-believers alike through unprecedented coverage in the news and in Life magazine in 1956.


Jim Elliot experienced life in big gulps as a restless, energetic, bold man. His life exemplified the following qualities:

  • He was straight as an arrow – bold, and sometimes making others uncomfortable with his intensity. “If the Lord is God, follow Him!” No ifs, ands, or buts! He had little patience for people who were cautious.
  • He had tremendous fun in life – a superb athlete, serious student, trickster, rabble-rouser, debater, one who couldn’t stand the ordinary and the boring.
  • He was willing to take unpopular stands – e.g., pacifism – willing to face tremendous cultural and familial opposition and scorn.
  • He loved his family deeply – and was not afraid to be corny in his sentiments.
  • He was open in his searching – wanting far more than he felt he could really obtain through his devotion and single-mindedness.
  • He was a man of action – preferring that people tell him to calm down and think things through rather than sit around waiting to “get inspired.”
  • He was good at recruiting people – he loved interaction with those who had strong opinions and weren’t shy about voicing them. He was good at being the Crazy Glue that put opposites together.
  • He was filled with the joy of life – praying hard, working hard, studying hard, playing hard, laughing, provoking, and moving through his walk with tremendous energy. He was willing to put everything on the line and trust God to guide and provide.

We need to learn from Jim Elliot. “School” is just one part of learning. What we do at Jim Elliot Christian School is more than schooling.

We need to do more outside the classroom in order to make lifelong impact as Jim Elliot did. Recently, through the efforts of Steve Saint and Waodani believers, Jim Elliot’s story has come to a new generation through two films, “Beyond the Gates of Splendor” and “End of the Spear.”