It was striking to me upon reading a chapter in Eric Metaxas’s, 7 Men: And the Secrets of Their Greatness, that Eric Liddell was famous for not doing something – something he was actually really really really gifted to do. There are plenty of instances throughout the history of faithful followers of Christ that are notable examples to us – martyrs who refuse to recant or bow down in worship to someone other than Christ, and so on. However, Liddell – the Scottish sprinter who was a sure-lock for securing his homeland’s first gold medal in the 1920 Paris Olympics – actually became prominent because of his refusal to race on the Sabbath.
Consider, what it is that you are really good at – something you know you are gifted to do. Now, layer on top of that a conviction you have (for Liddell it was to honor the Sabbath day and truly set it aside as a day of rest.) Then imagine an opportunity you would have to use your gift or skill or talent in a way destined to bring you great fame and glory. Indeed, you would probably have dozens of supporters encouraging you to pursue it – “Think of all that you could do for God, once you’ve done (achieved, accomplished, etc.) this!”
Yet, Eric Liddell chose to honor Scripture above the wisdom of man. He chose to highly esteem the Word of God, above all the potential – he considered the potential to do great things for God, once he was famous, mere rubbish compared to pure and simple obedience.
It’d be easy to dismiss this lesson as something that happened to someone who was famous and cast it off as not applicable to you. I urge you not to do that. Consider who God has made you to be – take a sober estimate of yourself; hold fast to the convictions He has taught you in His word.
God is faithful to use you and to empower you to not do certain things for His purposes and His kingdom.