Are you familiar with the story of Eric Liddell? The award-winning film Chariots of Fire celebrates him as the gold-medal Olympian who refused to run on Sundays! But what you might not know is that Eric was also a missionary. That information didn’t quite make the news. Walking away from fame and glory in Britain, Eric journeyed to China to run a different race—a race that would eventually claim his life for higher glory.
It was the late 1930s, and international tensions were mounting. Japan had attacked China, making travel extremely dangerous. One day, Eric heard about a man who had been injured and left for dead because it was too dangerous to reach him. Despite the peril, Eric succeeded in rescuing him. But their celebration was short-lived because that night they heard of another dying man in need of help.
This man was barely alive after a failed execution. He was going to die anyway; why jeopardize one’s life? However, Eric refused to let these considerations prevent him from taking action. At great risk, Eric rescued this man and took him to a nearby hospital. Miraculously, the man survived and later became a follower of Christ.
Eric later shared how the Lord’s presence was with him during this time. He remembered that the night before the daring rescue, God encouraged him with a powerful truth: “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much” (Luke 16:10).
Eric Liddell is often remembered as an incredible athlete. But his most eternal accomplishment was not winning a race in Britain, it was running a race to rescue the souls of men – a perilous race indeed.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which so easily besets us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).
Read the story of another famous missionary in Lamplighter's "Two Ends of a Rope." Considered to be "incomparably the best, the greatest man India ever possessed," William Carey's compassion, fortitude, dedication, and perseverance knew no boundaries. For twenty-five years, Carey fought against the horrible atrocities he witnessed - the evil festivals in Serampore and the hideous practice of sati, or widow-burning. He is best known for translating the New Testament into Bengali, opening the triumphant doors of Truth to perhaps the most "religious" country in the world.