Gifts and Eric

eric liddellMost reading this have either seen or are aware of the movie “Chariots of Fire”.

Eric LIddell was a serious follower of Jesus and in the end his love for God and others brought him to death in a foreign land as a missionary.

Over the last several years I’ve found occasion to quote him in two areas:

“God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure. ”
-Eric Liddell

Well, God did NOT make me fast, but the gifts (of the Spirit as well as practical talents, abilities) I’m certain He -has- given must be put to use in love. Not merely for personal gain, satisfaction, to impress others or whatever… but as a reflection of Him and His glory.

“What have we been given that isn’t a gift?” says the New Testament. So we either give God glory and serve in that attitude or we grasp for self, for our own kingdom-building plans or some other sense of fulfillment.

Ahhh but Eric said something else I’ve been saying most of my life and I cannot seem to get around it even though at times life would be a much smoother ride:

“We are all missionaries. Wherever we go we either bring people nearer to Christ or we repel them from Christ.”
-Eric Liddell

One issue is that instead of being a witness for Him we are reverse witnesses. Am I always kind, patient, loving? Do I always reflect my Savior to others as He would have me do? No, sadly, no.

On the other extreme end, any of us can and likely at times do try to play the part of Lord or perhaps Savior for another person… and ain’t a one of us up to either gift, calling or task!!

One of those rarely quoted verses of Jesus rings in my head: “The one who does not gather with Me scatters”.

Which is it? How often do we blow a chance to love, to be kind, merciful, serving, giving? How very often do we fail at -being- “the hands and feet of Christ” on our block, at work, in the street?

But oh how I sense God’s pleasure when I’ve been faithful to my calling, gifting and areas of service. I’m not talking about earning salvation, forgiveness, eternal life- we simply cannot DO that. Only the love and grace of God through Jesus accomplishes that!

Yet in an active, loving service to Him, His people and those still without faith and obedience to Him, this is the core of the missionary call.

Some would think Liddell an idiot to not make as much money and grasp as much glory and fame as possible from his amazing running ability, stick around Europe and bask in the limelight. Instead he died in relative obscurity on a mission field far from his native Scotland. And, I fully expect, felt God’s pleasure as some he influenced were drawn to Christ.

So… I ask you what I often ask myself: who you glorifying? Gathering or scattering? Something worth thinking about as we journey through life.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

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