Eric Liddell was famous for winning the 400 meter in the Paris Olympics. Most of us know his story from the famous movie Chariots of Fire. Eric broke the records and set the bar not just for racing but for leadership. When asked how he won the race he answered, “I ran the first 200 meters as hard as I could and then I ran the second 200 meters even harder.” What’s great is that Eric saw his spiritual life in the same way. Eric lived not for earthly wealth and success but to produce significance that would have eternal results.
The world and current culture advertises: “Work hard, gather as much as you can and then retire and coast your way to the day you die.” Gather all you can while here on earth and get as “comfortable” as possible. I have learned first hand that this concept is a myth. It is a facade.
Eric Liddell knew who he was, what he was supposed to do and how he was supposed to do it. More importantly he knew “why”. When your life is based on how you want to end I believe thats when we can get a clear picture of what we chose to do today. Stephen Covey calls this “Beginning with the end in mind.” Most of us will go the other way: We will “endure” life as it comes and react rather than sitting down and taking the time to ask the tough questions such as, “How do I want to finish?”
Most of the world will remember Eric as a runner and that was his claim to fame. On one occasion he was asked if he ever regretted his decision to leave behind the fame and glory of athletics. Liddell responded, “It’s natural for a chap to think over all that sometimes, but I’m glad I’m at the work I’m engaged in now. A fellow’s life counts for far more at this than the other.”
Running the rat race of “success” is a hamster wheel that will never amount to eternal benefit and reward. “Significance” is a race that can be ran knowing that your cause, meaning and results will never fade, will not rot or be stolen.
This is a sobering truth I must remind myself as a husband, father and leader while I live on this earth. I can assuredly tell you that the relationships I have are priceless and are the most meaningful thing to me I’ve encountered while being alive. It’s so easy to end each day wrapped up in what the world has to offer and wear yourself out trying to make it work. My goal, is for my days to be full of significance not just making money or success.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you navigate your motivation for the life you are running. Is life a race to have impact or are days spent just reacting and enduring?
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