Friday, April 23, 2010


One of the great pleasures I enjoy with my children is the experience of sitting down to show them classic movies.  I want them to find heroes in the right places and for this reason, we're very selective about what we call a classic.  (And yes, for a discussion another time, I do consider "The Matrix" a classic.)

Today, it was "Chariots of Fire."  While watching the movie again after all these years, I found myself looking up facts on my iPhone.  I had forgotten the spiritual giant that was Eric Liddell.  Google rumored his last words were "total surrender" referring to how he lived his life.

Hard to argue.  When Liddell won his gold medal in 1924, he wouldn't have been one to announce that now he's going to Disneyland (even if it had been built).  No, he immediately headed back to China (where he was born to missionary parents from Scotland).  From 1925 to 1945, this is where this celebrity lived out his life.  Working with youth, teaching the Bible... really, he was discipling.  And to the end, that's how he lived.

You see, the Japanese invaded China and it wasn't a great time and place to be a Westerner.  He was rounded up and put into a camp 300 miles south of Beijing (the site of the 2008 Olympics).  In a prisoner exchange approved by Churchill, he was granted his release.  Which he then gave to a pregnant woman.

He stayed behind ministering to people in the camp until a brain tumor, exacerbated by the conditions, hit him fast and furious.  He died a few months before the camp was liberated.  When explaining to his sister why he was going to the Olympics instead of China in 1924, he wrote, 
"I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure."
 I have no doubt that God was pleased.

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