Beyond Success

 

          What was Eric Liddell’s secret in moving from success to significance?

 

          Speaking at a luncheon for honor graduates just after his Olympic triumph, Eric shared his secret in these words: Athletics is part of educating the whole person…. As we realize that we not only have to store our minds with knowledge, but to educate our bodies for the strenuous life we must go through, and also remember that we are spirit as well, then we will send out graduates who are really worthy of taking their place in any part of life.

 

          Yes, he had extraordinary natural endowments. Through discipline and determination, Eric set his course for athletic and academic success. Yet, at the end of the day, his secret was not there. It was his spirit that set him apart.

 

          Eric’s heart for others always shone through - whether for a competitor on the starting line, a wounded Chinese farmer who had narrowly escaped decapitation, or a student separated from his parents in a Japanese concentration camp.

 

Spirit mattered.   But who could believe that Eric Liddell’s spirit was as important as his best-in-the world success?  That drew people to him.  At a banquet in Eric’s honor in Edinburgh, the MC aptly observed that that they were not there because Eric Liddell ran the fastest. It is because this young man put his whole career as a runner in the balance, and deemed it as small dust, compared to remaining true to his principles. This was not a one-time choice. His whole life demonstrated this priority. His biographer puts it in this way: At the peak of his athletic career with the world at his feet, 23-year-old Eric Liddell turned away from it all and set his face toward China.

 

          There, in a Japanese concentration camp, after nearly two decades of service to the Chinese people, Eric ran his final dash. Two internees put his life into perspective. Describing the concentration camp experience, one shared Eric’s secret of moving from success to significance: Weihsien – The Test: Whether a man’s happiness depends on what he has, or what he is; on outer circumstances, or inner heart; on life’s experiences – good and bad – or on what he makes out of the materials those experiences provide.”

 

          The other, writing to Eric Liddell’s bereaved wife in Canada, said, Rather than send you sympathy for your great loss, I would send you congratulations for loving and helping a man to show so many how to live.

 

          Beyond the Chariots grips you with Eric Liddell’s story of success to significance.              

                                                                                        James H. Taylor III                                                                             Hong Kong, SAR, China