They called him “The flying Scotsman.” Well I would hardly say that when I run I fly, but I DO like running and I am a 3rd generation Scotsman (The name ‘Somervell’ is Scottish, in case you didn’t know. The usual spelling is Somerville – I’ll tell you that story another day). But the real reason I admire Eric Liddell is not his brilliant pace, but his heart for God. What did he mean by, “When I run, I feel God’s pleasure?” He meant his love of running is not in opposition to his love for God, but interwoven with it. Eric loved to run. And he loved God. He knew his ability to run, and run FAST came from God. So every time he ran, he thought of God, and when he thought of God, he felt God’s pleasure.
That’s how earthly loves and heavenly loves unite. The fault with many of us I think is that we view anything we enjoy here on earth as carnal, fleshly and unspiritual. Goodness, when you look at life that way, anything that gives you pleasure must be bad! That’s comes very close to the Greek dualism postulated by ancient philosophers. You don’t want to go down a path, where you compartmentalize everything in your life as either “spiritual” or “secular.”
I love running. I love Jesus. Jesus gave me the ability to run, and when I train hard, I can run FAST. When the wind whips past my ears, and pedestrians race past me in a blur, I feel God’s pleasure. It is not as though God is above me, somewhere up there in the sky. No, He is running with me.
What do you love? Do you love reading? God gave you that desire. So read, and read well and feel God’s pleasure. Do you love creating? Well, you have something in common with God there. So create, and feel God’s pleasure. Do you love building? Build, and build well, and feel God’s pleasure. Do you love to paint? Then paint well, and feel God’s pleasure.
A couple of months ago, while taking my wife away on a ski holiday for her 50th birthday, I found I had a love for skiing. It really is exhilarating! So I skied, speeding down those mountains God created while looking out at the view God beautifully constructed with the strength that God provided. With the cold wind in my hair and the scraping of snow and ice beneath my feet, I felt God’s pleasure.