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Run Your Best

‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.’

2 Timothy 4:7NIV®

I love to run for absolutely no reason. It’s just fun for me.

These days I seem to be running for a different cause. I am running around to get things done in the house. Running around to keep things in order. Also running around to find a quiet time.

I’m sure you’ll understand that with kids those are highly active, ‘running around’ is a major part of the day.

The only quiet getaway is when they snooze or it’s the dear bathroom.

Out of sight, is out of mind, only for a while, until you hear a searching voice ‘mamma, mamma…’ and it’s time for you to get back into your calling.

But, is running around important?

I mean whom do I have to impress with keeping a perfectly neat house, neat looking kids with frocks and frills and a perfectly scrumptious meal.

Isn’t it ok to have a bit of a mess lying around your work desk? Some dust still near the flower vase, few dirty dishes in the kitchen sink. 

OK, I seriously could not go writing anything beyond that because those would be an ‘I can’t leave it that way’ for me.

So, there you have it, I do run around doing stuff that is not of much importance.

We must run for the right cause and be in the right race.

Eric Lindell was one such person who ran his best.

Eric Liddell (1902 – 1945) was a Scottish Olympic champion at 400 m and a famous Christian missionary; his inspirational life was captured in the film ‘Chariots of Fire’.

Although his parents were Scottish, Eric Liddell was both born and died in China. He was born on 16 January 1902 in the city of Tientsin (now Tianjin) in north-eastern China.

He was sent to Eltham College, a Christian boarding school for 12 years. From his school days, he was an outstanding sportsman excelling in short distance running, rugby union and cricket. However, it was at running that he really excelled, and after setting a new British record in the 1923 100 yards sprint, he was considered a great prospect for the Olympics in 1924.

Eric Liddell was a committed Protestant Christian. During the Paris Olympics – because the heats of the 100m sprint were held on Sunday, he withdrew from the race – a race considered to be his strongest. Instead, he concentrated on the 400 metres as the race schedule didn’t involve a Sunday.

Before the final, the US Olympic masseur slipped a piece of paper into his hand. It included the words from the Bible 1 Samuel 2:30 “Those who honour Me I will honour”.

Sprinting from the start, Liddell created a significant gap to the other runners and held onto win gold and set a new Olympic record time of 47.6 seconds. He described his race plan: “The secret of my success over the 400m is that I run the first 200m as fast as I can. Then, for the second 200m, with God’s help I run faster.” (BBC link)

He also won bronze in the 200m.

In 1925, Liddell returned to northern China to serve as a missionary like his parents. In China, he remained fit but only competed sporadically.

Liddell married Florence Mackenzie a Canadian missionary. They had three daughters Patricia, Heather and Maureen.

In 1941, the advancing Japanese army pressed Liddell and his family to flee to a rural mission station. Liddell was kept very busy dealing with the stream of locals who came to the station for medical treatment and food.

In 1943, the Japanese reached the mission statement and Liddell was interned. Aggravated by the shortage of food and medical treatment, Liddell developed a brain tumour and suffered severe ill-health.

Many camp internees attest to the strong moral character of Liddell. He was seen as a great unifying force and helped to ease tensions through his selflessness and impartiality.

In “The Courtyard of the Happy Way“, Norman Cliff, wrote Liddell: “the finest Christian gentleman it has been my pleasure to meet. In all the time in the camp, I never heard him say a bad word about anybody”.

A fellow internee, Stephen Metcalfe, later wrote of Liddell: “He gave me two things. One was his worn-out running shoes, but the best thing he gave me was his baton of forgiveness. He taught me to love my enemies, the Japanese, and to pray for them.”

Eric Liddell died on 21 February 1945, five months before liberation. He died from his inoperable brain tumour – through overwork and malnutrition undoubtedly hastened his death. It was revealed after the war that Liddell had turned down an opportunity to leave the camp (as part of a prisoner exchange program), preferring instead to give his place to a pregnant woman. His death left a profound vacuum within the camp – such was the strength of his personality and character.

Lindell knew God made him run fast. He honoured God and God honoured him. He was running to impress the right one. He left his fame and glory to serve in God’s mission.

Are we serving in the right mission?

I’ve read that ‘Life is God’s gift to us and what we make of it, is our gift to God’

Are we giving God the best? Are we going to finish well?

Of course, we have things to take care of in our life. 

But, Life makes more sense when we do things around Jesus.

By keeping Jesus at the centre, going to work adds new meaning.

We will look forward to encouraging our team.

Taking care of household chores won't seem burdensome anymore cos we will know the right amount of perfection that is required. 

The right amount of things are possessed or done if we have Jesus at the centre. 

Don’t be disheartened when the going gets tough.

Jesus says ‘’ “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”’Matthew 11:28-30

Let’s run the race of life in the right lane.

Let’s run with a single goal in mind – to impress Jesus and not a man.

Let’s stay focussed so that we would not step on the white lines that could cost us our reward in heaven.

Enjoy this song and have a blessed time with Jesus.

Run the race ~ Holly Starr

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.comThe “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

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