Eric Liddel    - by Sandeep Poonen
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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

If you don't know Eric Liddell, you really need to learn more about him.  Maybe instead of jumping to read Oprah's book recommendation, consider reading a biography of Eric Liddell! :-)

He's probably most famous for the movie that was made about him, "Chariots of Fire" - where he forfeited his opportunity to win gold for England because the finals would be on a Sunday., and he had made a vow not to run on the Lord's Day.  But so much more than that was the immeasurable work that he did for the Lord AFTER THAT - in the mission field of China.  Here's one short bio:  http://www.historymakers.info/inspirational-christians/eric-liddell.html

And those of Chinese heritage owe a special debt of gratitude to this Englishman.  You'll especially want to seek him out and thank him when you see him in heaven! :-)

And here are three short stories about Eric Liddell that inspired me....

1.  When Eric was about to leave for China, he was seen off by a crowd of admirers and well-wishers.  Before the train departed, he led those gathered in singing the missionary hymn (written by one of my favorite song-writers - Isaac Watts):
Jesus shall reign where e’er the sun
Does its successive journeys run;
His kingdom spread from shore to shore,
Till moons shall wax and wane no more


2.  And if the admiration was great before he left China, it was even greater when he came home for his first furlough.  Now he was not only a superstar athlete, but also an example of great piety.  When he arrived in Edinburgh for a rest in 1930, he was greeted by a crowd of thousands who requested a speech.

This is how he began:  I accept your welcome, not in my own name, but in the name of a great many others.  I accept your welcome in the names of those countless men, whose names are almost unknown, who went in to places of danger and difficulty and hazarded their lives for the sake of Jesus Christ, and who came back after they had done those things and were never welcomed.  In the name of these men and others I accept it.

3.  At the end of his life (during World War 2), Eric Liddell was held in a mission school compound along with other foreigners (Hudson Taylor's grandson was one of the children also at that camp).  Eric organized games and taught the children the Bible and academics.

When Eric was asked to supervise the sports activities, he agreed as long as it wasn't on Sunday.  One Sunday, when the teenagers were playing hockey, they got into a fight, with tempers flaring and accusations flying.  The next Sunday, to everyone’s surprise, Eric showed up and supervised their play.

The man who would risk losing an Olympic gold medal for his convictions was willing to break his rule for the greater good of the needs of his young friends.

The Spirit wrestled the Letter, and the Letter was overcome!