In assembly on Tuesday I reflected with the children that endurance is a very important thing if we are to make the most of our abilities and the opportunities that life brings us.
I reminded them that:
God has created each one of them to be individuals
God has given them specific talents and strengths
That ability without commitment or endurance does not achieve its full potential
That endurance is not something that God calls us to experience and commit to alone
As an example I used the story of two sports men Eric Liddell and Derek Redmond.
Endurance is an important aspect of any success in sport, specifically for those athletes who perform at the highest level. As a teenager I was inspired by the story of Eric Liddell, whose story was captured so brilliantly in the movie Chariots of Fire. Liddell was a sprinter and was a favourite for a medal in the 1924 Olympics, his determination, talent and endurance was perfectly captured in the retelling of a famous race in which he fell at the first bend in 400m trails. Liddell picked himself up and dramatically caught up with the rest of the field, over taking the leader in the last few meters.
Having shared the video as part of the assembly I reflected that Liddle demonstrated the following:
A determination to pick himself up
A willingness to try again
The endurance to seek to achieve what he set out to do – to win the race.
We considered that it is very easy to give up when things are hard, to just not try again or when something is asking something more of us to not be prepared to put in the effort.
But if we want to make the most of our God given talents and the opportunities that life brings, we can’t do this. Endurance is a choice, but if it is a choice that we chose to make we will see the benefits and rewards from it.
Liddell’s story continues to inspire. Making it through to the finals of the 100m, he refused to partake in them because they were held on a Sunday. Liddle believed that this was a day of rest, his faith and his commitment to God came before his opportunity to win gold. It seems that his decision had taken the opportunity away from him, but due to various circumstances he found himself switching to the 400m and making it to the final.
Just before the race an American team member handed Liddell a note ; it read ‘ It says in the big book that those who honour me I will honour’.
The outcome was a stunning win for Liddell and a gold medal to signify his achievement.
In contrast we also looked at the story of Derek Redmond, a favourite in the 1992 4oom final for a medal. Sadly for Redmond his hamstring went on the back 100m of the track, he collapsed to the ground in agony. Clearly out of the race. Determined to finish he began to limp towards the finish line. At about the 300m mark a man ran on to the track to support him. This was Redmond’s father, putting his arm around his son he escorted him to within 5m of the finishing line, where to a standing ovation Redmond dragged himself across the line.
This story spoke powerfully to me that God does not call us to endure alone. Liddell said that when he ran he felt the presence of God. When Derek Redmond was struggling to endure, his father came to his side. God calls us to endure, to use our gifts and talents, but not to do this on our own. God created us to live in community, we need each other, we need to encourage each other and we need to remember that God himself promises to always be with us, in the good times and the hard.
We are called to endure, but never to endure alone.
If you have never seen the video its worth a watch - https://youtu.be/7VfSbMh9gqU