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In 1981, the movie Chariots of Fire won the Academy Award for Best Picture. The movie tells the tale of long-distance runners Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams, both of whom earned Olympic medals for Great Britain in the 1924 Olympic Games. During the movie there is a scene in which Eric’s sister, Jenny, accuses Eric of failing God by competing in the Olympics, thus delaying his return to China as a missionary. Eric responded to Jenny with a retort that both startled me and inspired me when I watched the movie. “Jenny,” he said in his thick Scottish accent, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.”
I honestly cannot tell you if the real Eric Liddell ever spoke those words. What I can tell you is this: the real Eric Liddell brought Christianity to the forefront of the 1924 Olympics by withdrawing from his best race, the 100 meter dash, because it was to be run on Sunday. Instead, he ran in the 400 meter race – not his strongest – and shocked the world by winning the gold medal and setting a new world record in the process! Prior to winning the 400 meter race, many scoffed and ridiculed Eric Liddell for choosing not to run on Sunday. But after his victory, Liddell became a legend, a legend dedicated to God whose story has inspired a multitude of books – and even a movie – that proclaim to the world God’s words in 1 Samuel 2:30, “Those who honor me I will honor.”
Liddell did go to China as a missionary after the Paris Olympiad, and Liddell’s story has challenged generations after him to grasp a simple truth that can help anyone identify their vocational purpose in life: understand what it is you do that, when you do it, you can feel God’s pleasure. If you can feel God’s pleasure when you engage in a certain type of work, you can know that God designed you for that kind of work. It is in that kind of work that you can truly live out the words of Psalm 37:4, “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”
The desire of every one’s heart is to find total peace, joy, and contentment in life, no matter what the circumstances of life are like. A key component of achieving that peace, joy, and contentment is to engage in the work that God has hard-wired you to do. As for me, when I write and teach, I can feel God’s pleasure. For others, their work as a carpenter, a nurse, a doctor, or a schoolteacher brings God’s pleasure their way. It doesn’t matter what vocation you are designed for. What matters is that you discover it and engage in it, for in that vocation you will find God’s peace and pleasure. Also in that vocation you will find the mission field that God would have you work in. Whereas some people are called to be missionaries to foreign fields, others are called to be missionaries to their coworkers and customers at the workplace. God would have all people saved, and He has given you a unique pattern of work – a unique set of skills, interests, personality traits, and values – so that you can reach people for Christ that no one else can.
Do you lack peace and contentment in your current work? If so, ask God to show you the reason for your lack of peace. If indeed the source of your discontentment is that you are a square peg trying to fit into a round hole, pray that God will help you to discover and to enter into the work for which He has designed you.
Robbie Romeiser is a commercial real estate broker, real estate instructor, and author of the daily devotional Today’s Quote From God (www.TodaysQuoteFromGod.com). Desiring to help his own children follow God’s calling in their lives, Robbie founded Career Callings (www.CareerCallings.net) to help people find, prepare for, and pursue the work God has called them to do.