Saturday, February 1, 2014

Back to Basics

No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other...

--  Matthew 6:24

There's plenty of talk these days about fighting high energy costs through conservation and renewable resources. It's all about doing more with less and getting back to basics. As a nation, we have to set priorities. But what about our personal priorities for a valuable resource that we can never renew: our time?

Everyone has only a set number of days to live on this Earth. And what we do with them depends on our priorities. Some might live to travel the globe and find adventure. RunnersSome might live for pleasure, family or friends. And still others might seek meaning by throwing themselves into their careers. With so many choices and outlooks, how can we best set our priorities?

With the Winter Olympics just a few days away, let's look at Eric Liddell's story for some guidance. Liddell was a Christ-follower who believed that everything in his life should be done to please God. Born in China, he looked forward to one day fulfilling his calling as a missionary. But before that, he would compete as a runner at the 1924 Paris Olympics.

All seemed well until Liddell learned that his big race was scheduled for a Sunday. And that was a big problem. He felt in his heart that competing on Sundays was wrong because it would dishonor the God He always sought to please. So the faithful runner stepped aside, seemingly disqualifying himself from a chance at fame by representing his country in the Olympic Games.

Eric Liddell's clear priority was to put God first, regardless of the cost. And needless to say, it was a priority that few others shared with him. It's reported that even the Prince of Wales urged the young athlete to run in the Sunday track meet. But Liddell refused to compromise his principles.

Then the unexpected. Liddell was given the opportunity to run on another day. The catch was that he had never trained for that particular event. Fans of the 1981 movie classic Chariots of Fire surely know what happened next: he won the race and claimed the cherished gold medal.

Let's now fast-forward 90 years to our present day. The 2014 Olympics are here and the same vital questions remain. What are your priorities in life? And what's really important to you? As Christ-followers, we first need to seek God's guidance for the answers. It's then that we can take that next crucial step: the decision to honor God. We also need to develop a plan of action. Which parts of our life are we willing to change to meet the goal? What's negotiable? And finally, it's time to deliver by running the race and seeing it through past the finish line.

Eric Liddell's real-life adventure is full of life lessons. And if there's just one to take away here, it's that God will honor us when we decide to honor God.

Are you ready to go back to basics in your walk of faith? Then let the race begin.

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