I remember my first exposure to Eric Liddell's testimony and life was when, as a college student, I saw the movie "Chariots of Fire". It was an amazing story of triumph in competition, but also, and more importantly, a testimony that exalts Christ's work through His obedient and faithful servant.
I remember what stuck with my mind and heart was that here was a man with great talent and greater faith and convictions. When the clash of those two came during the 1924 Olympics he stayed on a course that brought him persecution, ridicule and prejudice, but a course of obedience to His Lord and Savior. No compromise was on his mind and heart. I remember that this had a deep impact on my young life as a follower of Christ. Fortunately, the Lord provided a solution so that Eric could compete while remaining true to his convictions of not running and competing on Sunday. Yet, ultimately this was not what Liddell believed he was called upon by God to do with his life. He believed that God made him for China.
I am presently working through Eric Liddell's devotional, "The Disciplines of the Christian Life". In the introductory chapters, written by men who knew Liddell very well, we find that during an extremely difficult moment in his life, he and another were trying to save the lives of men who were in the resistance organization in occupied China and were hidden and injured, Liddell was particularly helped along, while trying to decide to embark on the dangerous rescue, by Luke 16:10, "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much."
I have provided a link to an extremely rich blog entry by Dr. Al Mohler of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, which I hope will be an encouragement to you as much as it has been to me. In it he provides some of the details of the life of Liddell after the Olympic glory days.
With the ranks of career missionaries from America diminishing more and more, my hope and prayer here too is that the Lord will do with a new generation of believers what He did with Eric Liddell (and what He did with myself and my wife). Namely, that a new generation of missionaries will be called to give their life to serve long-term and career in the spread of the gospel and God's love. I suppose a challenging question at this point might be...What has God called you for? Maybe it is or maybe it isn't China, but it could be for somewhere. The missionary force needs missionaries "on the ground" with a presence among the people of a country for long-term influence. I hope you will enjoy this blog article by Dr. Mohler on the rest of the Eric Liddell story! May the Lord richly bless you as you serve Him. Click on the picture/quote below to go to the blog entry.
Robert Thomas Clark, M.Div.
Follower of Christ