Nate Saint

When Steve Saint was only five years old, his father Nate Saint, left on a plane with four other missionaries – Jim Elliott, Ed McCully, Roger Youderian, and Pete Fleming – to reach the indigenous savage people group known as the Auca Indians.  On the day his father left, little young Steve did not know that his father and the other missionaries would all be speared to death by the Waodani tribe and he would never see his father again.  However, instead of allowing this tragic experience to mark his life with bitterness and unforgiveness, Steve learned how to forgive the men who killed his father by actually going to live with his aunt among the Waodani tribe when he was 10 years old.  Through his family’s tenacious missionary efforts and Steve’s willingness to forgive his father’s transgressors, the Waodani people became believers in Christ.  Through Steve’s outrageous act of love and forgiveness, the man who actually killed Steve’s father was transformed by God and became Steve’s brother in Christ – powerfully demonstrating the good news of the Gospel.

The Power of Forgiveness

I’ve heard it said that there is nothing more powerful in human affairs than the act of forgiving the least and even the most unforgivable offenses.  I believe this is true simply because of the reality of the Cross in my own life.  At the Cross, Jesus looked at His guilty offenders (you and I through the sin of Adam) and He forgave us by freely giving His life that we might have life.  Like Jesus, Steve Saint’s father, Nate Saint, gave his life as a martyr so that others – guilty offenders – might have an opportunity to receive the power of forgiveness through the Cross.  As a legacy to his father’s martyred life, Steve pressed through his painful loss to help complete his father’s mission by demonstrating the power of the gospel through the incontestable act of forgiving his father’s killers.  What else can the heart of a person do but melt at the foot of the Cross, when they have committed an unthinkable, unpardonable sin against another and that person chooses to forgive their offense.

Give What You Cannot Keep To Gain What You Cannot Lose

In his life, Steve Saint quotes one of the missionaries killed with his father as saying, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” From his painful life experiences, it is evident that Steve learned how to allow what the enemy meant for evil to be turned to good by giving into his heavenly Father’s hands what he could not keep – his relationship with his natural father – in return for the eternal life of his father’s killers and many others through the powerful demonstration of the gospel in his own everyday life.  In fact, it has been written about Steve that his life has been shaped by James 4:17 and other similar verses stating, “Anyone who knows the good he ought to do, but doesn’t do it, sins.” With such a powerful verse shaping Steve’s life, it is no wonder the powerful impact that he is having in his missionary efforts around the world. 

Dead Faith Is Worthless

In my opinion, Steve Saint’s everyday faith is an inspirational testament to the responsibility that all Christ followers have to fulfill the Great Commission by demonstrating our own faith through good works that God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. About the purpose and course of his life, Steve Saint states, “I have long dreaded the thought of getting to the end of life and regretting that I allowed my own timidity or other people’s expectations to determine the course of my life. I had decided at a much younger age that several of my beliefs should determine the course of my life.  I believe that Waengongi, the Creator, has an epic script into which my minute presence has been written.” For “Great Commission” works to be fulfilled and completed in each of our lives, I believe that all Christ-followers must believe as Steve Saint, that our Creator – Father God – has a good plan for each of us and He will be faithful to complete the good work He begins in us as the Author and the Finisher of our faith.  And if we dare to be so bold to believe the fullness of God’s Word for our own lives, we would have no need to be concerned with “dead faith” which Steve says “is as worthless as a 5-day old chewed up piece of gum.”  Therefore, as we live life at the end of the spear, trusting the Lord to teach us all things, lead us into all truth, and direct our steps on a daring faith adventure into eternity with Him, may our faith never be dead on the journey.

Question: As a Christ follower in the marketplace, how do you live your life at the “end of the spear”?  

End of the Spear Copyright 2011, The Make It Happen Learning Institute.  You have permission to reprint the leadership article, End of the Spear, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.