Last Sunday we briefly heard about Eric Liddell in a video clip. Eric had become a national hero by the end of the summer in 1924. On July 9, Liddell won a bronze medal in the 200 meters at the Paris Olympics. Two days later, he ran away from the field in the 400 meters, capturing the gold medal with a record-shattering performance.
To the watching world, Liddell’s life had reached its climax. Revered internationally and beloved in his home country, Liddell’s Olympic triumph had catapulted him to the height of earthly glory. (His Olympic triumph was portrayed in the movie, “Chariots of Fire.”) But from an eternal perspective, the greatest chapters of Liddell’s life had yet to be written.
In spite of his growing fame and all that it offered, Liddell stepped out of the spotlight in 1925 and into a life that could not have been more anonymous and more removed from earthly glory. He became a missionary to China.
China has been a dangerous place for Christian missionaries, and that was especially true during Liddell’s stay. The nation had fallen under foreign occupation, and as World War 2 escalated, Liddell and his fellow missionaries found themselves serving God in the heart of enemy territory.
Despite the risks, Liddell faithfully served Christ in China for twenty years. At one point, his friends urged him to flee the shadow of worsting aggression, but his commitment to Christ outweighed his concerns for personal safety. He sent his wife and children to safety, but he travelled deeper into China, taking the gospel to the rural village of Siaochang, which, by then, had become a war zone.
Captured in 1943, Liddell spent the final years of his life proclaiming the gospel and ministering to his fellow prisoners, as well as his captors, in an internment camp. He died from a brain tumour in 1945.
Liddell could have chosen a more comfortable existence. He could have stayed at home and enjoyed the fame he had won at the Olympic Games. He could have even rationalised his decision, believing he would make the greatest impact for Christ by using his popularity as a platform.
But Liddell’s passion for serving and honouring Christ compelled him to go to China. It caused him to turn his back on public adoration and choose instead a life of almost unknown service on the mission field. It motivated him to put others’ needs before his own, to prefer the salvation and spiritual growth of people he didn’t know to his own comfort, safety and ultimately his freedom.
Eric Liddell’s life is a powerful demonstration of what God can accomplish through the humble service of His people.
You may not be called to the mission field but that doesn’t mean you can’t pour yourself out as a sacrifice and make a difference for Christ. If you are a believer being directed by God’s Word and the Holy Spirit, you will make a difference.
How do I know that? The Bible teaches that anyone who abides in Christ will bear spiritual fruit. By living a holy life in front of unbelieving friends, you’re bearing fruit whether you see it or not. If you’re serving others, if you’re praying, and if you’re demonstrating a Christ-like attitude toward the people you know, you’re bearing fruit. “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you”. (James 4:10)
This Sunday we meet for worship at 10:30 am. There will also be a Prayer Meeting before the service at 10:00 am. Do join us!
A Church Membership Class will take place at 9:15 am and next Sunday, 4 June. Everyone interested in knowing more about our church is welcome. Transport from the Rüschlikon Station at 09:05
Grace be with you,
Bruce Davie, Pastor/Elder