30 June 2016

God...in sport (1) - By Jack Lewis

As you might have noticed I'm starting to do a lot of series now, and I'm going to start another one. It's basically taking the life stories of a group of famous Christians, and seeing what we can learn from them. The category I'm going to start with, is Christians in sport. These are people who have gone into what is, to be honest, a fairly ungodly environment, where fame and wealth reign, and come out the other side with God's gold medal. Two of the most obvious examples of this are Eric Liddel and C.T Studd. 

Firstly, to briefly tell the story of Liddel, he was a Scottish sprinter about 100 years ago, and he won so many of the races he entered in. To many he was most famous for winning a race from 20m behind after he'd been knocked over! Imagine if Usain Bolt did that in this summers Olympics, he'd be treated as a) a god, or b) a drug cheat! That's what Eric Liddel will often be remembered for by the world, but for Christians there was a more significant event. In the 1924 Olympics, he found out that his specialty, the 100m, was to be run on a Sunday. He therefore decided to withdraw from the race, which he was one of the favorites to win. He instead chose to compete in the 400m, which most thought he had no chance of winning. To the surprise of everyone, he won the race and a gold medal! As he quoted afterwards: “Those who honour Me I will honour." (1 Samuel 2:30)
So the main things we can learn from the life is that if we are faithful to God, he will be faithful to us, and he'll give us back many times more than we gave to him!

The second main example, is C.T. Studd. He grew up with a life of total luxury, and became one of the leading players in English cricket. He was also one of the players in the first ever ashes. After his brothers near-death experience, something changed, and as for the rest of his life... I'll go into all that next week.

There are also more modern examples, Kaka and Daniel Sturridge being examples in the football world. Billy Vunipola is also a rugby ambassador, and Manny Pacquiao is a Christian boxer. Add that to the likes of Kriss Akabusi and it proves that there still are Christians on the mission field that is the world of professional sports.