Most Christians are familiar with Jim Elliot, one of five missionaries killed in the jungles of Ecuador in the 1950s. Fewer people know about Jim’s brother, Bert.
Bert Elliott and his wife, Colleen, were missionaries in Peru. Their work there included starting more than 150 churches, leading Bible studies, helping at a Christian school, leading drug addicts to Christ and even pulling teeth for those with severe dental problems.
There was nothing glamorous about what Bert and Colleen did. Together, they toiled for 62 years without making the front page of any newspaper.
Yet Bert understood why Jim’s life captured the imaginations of so many. He called his brother “a great meteor, streaking through the sky.”
It’s natural and right to lift up Jim’s life. However, it’s Bert’s life that more likely mirrors our own.
Like Bert, our lives are often marked by faithful, mundane service. We use our gifts at church when we count the offering, volunteer in the nursery and teach Sunday school. We tend to our families, making them dinner and help with homework. Day in and day out, we go to our jobs and put in an honest day’s work. We do our best to love our neighbor and share the Gospel with those who surround us.
There’s beauty in this humble daily service.
Just like Bert’s faithfulness had a profound impact on the people he ministered to, we also make a difference in the lives of those we serve, too.
In a blog post about the Elliot brothers, Trevin Wax reflects on the streaking meteors like Jim – and the “faint stars” like Bert… and like us.
The important thing for us to remember is that we are needed. There is a great need for people willing to chase the little donkeys of life, not because it’s exciting but because they believe in the constant presence and purpose of God. There is a great need for people willing to stand in the midst of the boring, convinced that there is no such thing as ordinary when you follow an extraordinary God.
God sees the good deeds you do in private, and He knows the heart you do it with. Be encouraged that the thousand little things you do everyday to bless others – the very things others may not recognize and no one will write about – are seen by Almighty God. He knows – and He delights in you.
I’ll leave you with a video of Randy Alcorn sharing the story of Bert Elliot.
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