Sharing a bit of encouragement and inspiration outside of our regular Sunday Services.
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A Gold Medal Example
by Paul Weisser
This past Sunday, our Middle School and Whole New World Sunday schools learned about an incredible example of faith – the story of Olympic athlete and missionary Eric Liddell.
Most of us can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to take part in the Olympics. Can you imagine dreaming about the Games, going through all the tough training, and then making a choice not to compete in your best event? That’s Mr. Liddell’s story.
For those who may not know, Eric was born into a missionary family in 1902. His parents were Scottish, but lived in China. Eric grew up as an incredible athlete. He was a runner and star rugby player. His goal was to get to the 1924 Olympics in France and take part in the 100 meters. He trained hard and his country was sure he would win a gold medal for them.
There was just one problem. The qualifying race was on a Sunday and Eric would not run on Sunday. Why, you ask? He had promised to worship and honor God on Sundays, instead of competing. God honored Eric as well. Instead of running in the 100 meters, he qualified for the 200 and 400 meter races, because the heats didn’t happen on a Sunday. No one really thought Eric had much of a chance in either of those races and yet he surprised everyone by winning Gold in the 400 in a world-record time and also finishing 3rd in the 200.
Eric’s story doesn’t cover just athletics either. Following his success at the Olympics, Eric went back to China as a missionary and served the Lord faithfully. His life makes for incredible reading. He ended up in a Japanese internment camp where he died at age 43.
Eric Liddell’s life can be summed up with a few verses from Acts 20. In verses 23 and 24 it says, “I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me —the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”
Eric was once quoted as saying, “We are all missionaries. Wherever we go we either bring people nearer to Christ or we repel them from Christ.” His life teaches us many things. It shows the value of hard work and also the benefit of putting God first. Eric gives us the example of shining and showing the Lord in whatever circumstance he has placed us. It teaches us to live a gold medal life in whatever God gave us to do. It teaches us that following God isn’t always easy.
How are we going to live our lives today? Can we follow the Gold Medal example of Eric Liddell?