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Tag Archives: Eric Liddell

The Conqueror’s Crown of Glory

As a former coach for nearly two decades, there are numerous ways to motivate athletes. Some respond to food, others want to get their names in the newspaper, and a few do whatever it takes to win. Each of my three children possessed a little bit of these desires. My oldest son James wanted to know what place he needed to get to earn a medal. My middle child Daniel was the best all-around athlete in the family who is most passionate about winning. Meanwhile, my daughter Lydia is easily motivated by deals that I make with her based upon performances. Whatever it takes, set a goal and reward this once achieved.

And [then] when the Chief Shepherd is revealed, you will win the [a]conqueror’s crown of glory, 1 Peter 5:4.

As a former runner, Chariots of Fire was one of my favorite movies in high school. The inspiration behind this title comes from the William Blake poem adapted into the British hymn “Jerusalem.” Chariots of Fire follow two athletes who win gold medals for Great Britain at the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris, France. While Harold Abrahams is the more gifted runner, Eric Liddell runs to glorify God through his faith. However, when his best chance to win gold is moved to Sunday, Liddell is able to convince his coach to switch races so that he doesn’t break his vow to keep God’s Sabbath holy, Exodus 20:8.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but [only] one receives the prize? So run [your race] that you may lay hold [of the prize] and make it yours. 25 Now every athlete who goes into training conducts himself temperately and restricts himself in all things. They do it to win a wreath that will soon wither, but we [do it to receive a crown of eternal blessedness] that cannot wither, 1 Corinthians 9:24-25.

In the passage above, the apostle Paul is referring to the Isthmian Games that were hosted by the city of Corinth. This ancient Track and Field Event took place in non-Olympic years. After archeologists uncovered remains of Corinthian pubs, it’s likely that many who attended the Isthmian Games would stop by, have a drink, and talk about this sporting event. Appealing to Corinth’s rich sports history, Paul wants to remind his readers of the Conqueror’s Crown of Glory. Since only three contestant’s win a medal, live your life in such a manner that you will receive an eternal crown that will last. This should be your ultimate goal in life, Romans 10:9-11.

by Jay Mankus

Stop Pouting and Start Leading

When someone is hurt, ill or sad, its easy to become distracted, absorbed by the painful reality of life.  One of the common reactions is to pout, a visible form of depression by expressing disappointment through your body language.  This pitiful state blinds individuals from those who need you the most, often resulting in isolation and withdraw.  Once you reach this point, its hard to snap out of this mindset.

Since my tubing accident, I guess you can say I lost or wasted the entire month of February.  I feel like I have been bewitched by the sorrow of my circumstances, similar to the church of Galatia who lost sight of faith, Galatians 3:1-5.  In my mental absence, my wife has tried to hold our family together as best as she could.  However, now its time for me to stop pouting and start leading.

“Compromise is the language of the devil,” according to one of Eric Liddell’s mentors in Chariot’s of Fire.  As a parent, if you allow your children to wear you down, compromise will become a way of life.  As my eyes have awoken from my spiritual slumber, its essential for me to lead my kids toward the less traveled road, Matthew 7:13-14.  However, words are meaningless unless I display the way.  Therefore, I need to experience a Chrysalis like the butterfly, 2 Corinthians 5:17, who enters as an inch worm and exits transformed on wings like eagles, Isaiah 40:31.  If people stop pouting and start leading, this generation can be saved one life at a time.

by Jay Mankus

The 16 Minute Man

As I entered my teenage years, Lee Majors starred in the television hit The 6 Million Dollar Man.  This show featured Steve Austin, an astronaut who undergoes reconstructive surgery to save his life.  As a result, he becomes the world’s first bionic man.  Doctor’s promised to make him bigger, stronger and faster after the operation.

Although this show did not inspire me to run, I developed an unusual desire to run like Eric Liddell in Chariots of Fire.  According to the film, when Eric ran, he could feel God’s pleasure.  I never did achieve this sensation; nor did I enjoy running everyday.  However, the competitor in me longed to break the 17 minute mark for 5K or 3 miles.

During my senior year of high school, I achieved this feat twice.  The first time occurred in my team’s only loss of the season as I allowed 2 runners to pass me in the final portion of the course.  The second time was much sweeter as God enabled me to run 16:30 for 3 miles on a hilly course.  Out of 207 runners, I was 20th, collapsing at the finish line, giving all that I had for the first and only time in my life.  Despite being told by doctor’s a year earlier I would never run again following a horrific ankle injury that ended my junior cross country season, God empowered me to become a 16 minute man.

by Jay Mankus

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