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Simple Obedience is Never Simple

Posted by admin in February 2nd, 2021
Published in Uncategorized
Daryl and I watched “Chariots of Fire” Sunday night. It’s been 20 years since we’ve seen this Academy-Award winning film. The film poignantly tells of the life and faith of Scotsman Eric Liddell, once deemed the fastest man on earth. Liddell qualified for the 1924 Olympics in Paris. Born in China to missionary parents, he explained to his family, “God made me fast and when I run I feel His good pleasure.” All the world’s eyes were on the Olympics that summer and Liddell was a guaranteed gold medalist for every event he was entered in. He held the world record for each. The French scheduled the events and Eric’s strongest race was scheduled on a Sunday. After wrestling and agonizing over his decision, Liddell told the British Olympic committee that he could not and would not run on a Sunday. “I must keep the Sabbath Day holy. It is the Lord’s Day and I will not run.” Even the Prince of Wales called him into a private meeting and pressured young Eric to run, “For king and country.” Eric explained that God was above kings and that God’s Law was above man. He refused to run. Eric did run another event later that week and won the gold and set another world record, but the whole world watched in awe and disbelief as the “Flying Scotsman” obeyed God rather than man and refused to run on a Sunday.
Why is this important? Why does Eric Liddell’s life matter?
Because after university, Eric Liddell returned to China to carry on his parents’ missionary work. In 1942, England evacuated British citizens from China as the Japanese invaded and WW II broke out in the Pacific Rim. Government officials, church leaders, family members begged Eric to leave China and go back to England and save his life and that of his wife (expecting their third child) and daughters. But the couple prayed and their resolve was for Eric to stay with the Chinese and not to abandoned his post – even for safety. He sent his wife and daughters to stay with family in Canada.
Just a few months later, Eric Liddell was taken prisoner by the Japanese and held in a Japanese prisoner of war camp in northeast China from 1943 to 1945. He ministered each day among the prisoners and the guards. He taught Bible stories, kept the young children prisoners occupied with games and races. He preached the Gospel and he served God in the most filthy and dire of circumstances. Eric Liddell died on February 21, 1945, and was buried by the Japanese in an unmarked mass grave.
The resolve, the dedication, the commitment to obey God above all else, the serving of Christ in that prisoner of war camp–the ability to do all of this was birthed and developed because of Eric Liddell’s strength to NOT run on a Sunday; to obey God’s Law over man’s praise.
Because Eric Liddell said no in 1924, he was able to say yes to all God asked of him in 1943. That’s why obedience matters. This is why holiness unto the Lord is important. What we do now will have consequences either for good or for evil in our lives, and others’, later. If you think about Eric Liddell in light of today’s churches hosting Super Bowl parties in their sanctuaries, it allows us to see how far the Church has drifted. What we do today will have a tremendous impact on what we are able to do tomorrow. Peace.

4 users Responded In This Post

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56216. Greg said,
February 3rd, 2021 at 9:35 am

Teri, thanks once again for stepping on my toes. I needed that.

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56217. admin said,
February 3rd, 2021 at 11:12 am

You always encourage me! Thank you.

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56270. Carrie Bradshaw said,
February 7th, 2021 at 6:53 am

I’m so happy you’re writing more blog posts. Just catching up with them today. I never knew the rest of the Liddell story. Thank you.

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56284. admin said,
February 8th, 2021 at 7:26 am

Your words encouraged me to get going again. So, thanks to you dear Carrie, I’m back at it! So grateful for you!

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