Originally posted at the ERLC.

“I believe that God made me for a purpose. But he also made me fast, and when I run, I feel his pleasure.”

That memorable line is from the 1981 British historical drama film Chariots of Fire. It is the response Eric Liddell gives when he’s confronted by his sister for neglecting his responsibilities before God to focus on competitive running in preparation for the 1924 Olympics. His response is powerful because he doesn’t see his athletic pursuit as neglecting God but as a means of glorifying God. Since sports were a means to a greater end of delighting in God, Liddell, a strict Christian Sabbatarian, refused to bow to international pressure to compete in the 100-meter race in the 1924 Olympics because it was on Sunday.

You do not have to be a strict Christian Sabbatarian to appreciate and learn from Liddell’s example. I believe that the Lord’s Day should be set aside for corporate worship and gospel rest in celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In my understanding, the Sabbath principle is already fulfilled in Christ—who is our rest. But the Lord’s Day is a gracious gift to remind us that our lives are “in him” and should be honored until he consummates his Kingdom and ushers in eternal rest in the new heavens and earth. Whether you are a strict Christian Sabbatarian or believe the Sabbath has been fulfilled in Christ, Liddell’s example is instructive for Christian parents as they think about their children’s participation in sports.

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