Elisabeth Elliot, a missionary pioneer, prolific author and radio speaker, died this morning at age 88. She had been ill with dementia and out of the public eye for years, but her books and radio teachings endure in many hearts. In today’s post, Andy Bramsen shares this tribute to Elliot and describes her influence on his own life. Andy is a professor of political science at Bethel University. He and his wife, Sara, and their two daughters have been part of Church of the Redeemer since August 2013.
As I reflect today on the death of Elisabeth Elliot Gren, I am particularly struck by the power of the stories she told of her life and how those stories have inspired and shaped me. Elisabeth’s deeply personal account in Through Gates of Splendor of the five men and five women (herself among them) who were willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who had never heard it communicated the value and central importance of our faith in a way that went far beyond mere statements. Her transparent story in Passion and Purity of her romantic relationship with Jim and her account of her own family’s strengths and weaknesses in The Shaping of a Christian Family guided and elevated my standards for what was God-honoring in my own relationships. A few months before my own wedding, one of my friends gave me The Mark of a Man as a groomsman’s gift, and it further challenged me about the kind of husband I should become. Perhaps most of all, Elisabeth’s account of her year as a single missionary in These Strange Ashes powerfully brought home the point that God is most interested not so much in what we accomplish for Him but in what He is doing in us and our loving service in response to His work. When I re-read it, this book makes me laugh, makes me cry and most of all, makes me think more deeply about my own relationship with my Savior. For all this and more, I am grateful for the life and work of Elisabeth Elliot.
Click here to read more about Elisabeth Elliot’s powerful life story.
If you have a favorite Elisabeth Elliot book, please share it in the comments below.