WHEN did you last have to run for a bus, or for a train? Did you catch it? If so, how did you feel after the unexpected exercise? If not, what did you do?
It is interesting how our attitude to running changes over the years. As children, we can’t help but run everywhere; later on, we think “There’ll be another bus along soon, and there’s no great hurry.”
I recall a sports day at my younger son’s primary school way back. Foolishly – or maybe because of his insistence – I volunteered to run in the fathers’ race. I was rather slow in responding to the starter’s whistle, even slower on the track, and managed to take the next-to-last place. My son graciously congratulated me on at least reaching the winning-post.
I have not entered another competition of that sort since then, and nearly three decades have gone by!
The story of Eric Liddell,Olympic gold medallist in the 1920s, is, on the other hand, most inspiring. We delight to bread of his physical ability, of course, but more so his Christian values and determination to follow his God-given conscience, particularly in the matter of whether to pursue his athletic career on a Sunday.
A Bible verse that Liddell quoted on many occasions says: ‘Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last for ever’ (1 Corinthians 9, 24-25).
It is not overly difficult, is it, to see the parallel with the Christian life: self-motivation and discipline are what keep us going.
As the hymn, in the form of a prayer, reminds us:
‘May the mind of Christ my Saviour live in me from day to day, by his love and power controlling all I do and say.
‘May I run the race before me, strong and brave to face the foe, looking only unto Jesus as I onward go.’ (Kate B Wilkinson)
We have copies of ‘Complete Surrender’, a biography of Eric Liddell, to give away. If you would like one, please email email@example.com, giving a name and address for delivery.
P.S. Here’s news of Matthew 25 Mission (formerly Oasis) organising a day of activity and entertainment on Saturday 21st July.
Running from 1 to 4 pm at Christchurch, Seaside, Eastbourne, the ‘Community Supporting Community’ event includes in its programme music and dance, demonstrations, stalls and refreshments. Sounds good!
Ray Dadswell, who produces the Pause for Thought column, is a local evangelist and teacher, and associated with Gateway Christian Church.