I’m almost certain that it’s because of the Olympics that ChristianAudio.com is making available for free this month a book by Eric Liddell. For this decision, surely they deserve a gold, and we are the real winners.
If you’re unfamiliar with Liddell, he is probably most famous as the man depicted in the movie Chariots of Fire. Despite his evident athletic skill and easy entrance into the 1924 Olympics for the 100 meter race, having already set records in Scotland, he declined to run the qualifying heat because it was held on Sunday. For Liddell, this was the Christian Sabbath and he would not run when we should be worshipping his Lord. In God’s providence, he tried out for the 400 meter, qualified, and took the gold medal and set a world record. He went on to place bronze in the 200 meter.
Despite his love of running, Liddell, wasn’t content to live in Olympic glory forever. He sets his eyes higher and followed in the footsteps of his parents by going to China as a missionary. There he served with his family until he was taken as a prisoner by the Japanese in 1943. Even then he continued to serve God by seeking to keep a spirit of unity among the other missionaries, teaching Bible and science to interned teenagers, and in every way helping to keep others’ spirits up. He even found time to write a devotional work. It’s this book, Disciplines of the Christian Life, that was recovered years, edited and published. This month, this books is available as a free audio download.
Liddell is one of the giants in modern missions and the Church at large. This is due, in part, because he didn’t consider himself a giant and didn’t pursue such standing. All of his life, from running for gold to preaching the gospel, he simply sought to love his Savior and faithfully serve him. More than one person who knew Liddell well has said that evening in the internment camp, Liddell was a model of Christian love, grace, and service.
For all of these reasons and so much more, I would encourage you to get the free audio download of his book that ChristianAudio is offering. It’s not only great material, but it’s read by one of the best readers (at least, one of my favorites), Simon Vance.
For a great introductory talk on Liddell’s life, it’s hard to do better than Dr. Daniel Akin’s recent sermon, “God’s Chariot of Fire: The Life of Missionary Eric Liddell and the Race He Ran” (mp3).