Running a straight race: the great Eric Liddell

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Here’s a wonderful story from the movie, Chariots of Fire. It’s based on the real life mission and ministry of Eric Liddell.  Known as “The Flying Swede,” he ran in the 1924 Paris Olympics. He not only had a heart for the mission, but he also understood that he’d been blessed in other ways, too. He tells his sister at one point in the movie, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.”

That pleasure is an important part of us finding our passion in life, finding what it is that we are created to do, destined to do, the work that best suits us. Here’s a speech Eric gives later in the movie, because it speaks profoundly to where the source of this passion comes from and where we might find that desire:

You came to see a race today. To see someone win. It happened to be me. But I want you to do more than just watch a race. I want you to take part in it. I want to compare faith to running in a race. It’s hard. It requires concentration of will, energy of soul.

You experience elation when the winner breaks the tape – especially if you’ve got a bet on it. But how long does that last? You go home. Maybe your dinner’s burnt. Maybe you haven’t got a job. So who am to say, “Believe, have faith,” in the face of life’s realities?

I would like to give you something more permanent, but I can only point the way. I have no formula for winning the race. Everyone runs in her own way, or his own way. And where does the power come from, to see the race to its end? From within. Jesus said, “Behold, the Kingdom of God is within you.” If you commit yourself to the love of God, then that is how you run a straight race.

That’s my hope for you today: that you can run a straight race, finding the power within, and trusting in that power to lead you along the path you need to go.

So, what do you say? Let’s notice together the blessings in life. Because when we pay attention, marvelous things happen. Let’s live Everyday Inspired!

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