Passion, Purpose and Pleasure

Gregg recently listed his all time favorite movies - a great list of flicks. I commented and told Gregg that one of the movies that missed his list was Chariots of Fire.. the movie about two very different runners. This pic is one of Eric Liddel.. he ran like a wild man and lacked the finesse of Harold Abrahams.. the other runner who competed with him in the 1924 Olympics.

Every time I look at this image I am reminded of this line from the movie spoken by Liddel:
I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast.
And when I run I feel His pleasure.
I think that passion can be defined using two words from this line: purpose and pleasure. When Eric Liddel, a man who would in time be remembered as a martyred missionary to China, ran in the 1924 Olympics he ran as a man filled with passion.. passion for God.. if you remember the movie.. he would not run in a race because of his conviction about not running on the Sundays. He also seemed to have a passion for life.. it seemed that whatever he did he did it with all he had. Here is a passage from another scene in the movie where Eric is addressing a crowd that watched him race:
You came to see a race today. To see someone win. It happened to be me. But I want you to do more than just watch a race. I want you to take part in it. I want to compare faith to running in a race. It's hard. It requires concentration of will, energy of soul. You experience elation when the winner breaks the tape - especially if you've got a bet on it. But how long does that last? You go home. Maybe you're dinner's burnt. Maybe you haven't got a job.

So who am I to say, "Believe, have faith," in the face of life's realities? I would like to give you something more permanent, but I can only point the way. I have no formula for winning the race. Everyone runs in her own way, or his own way. And where does the power come from, to see the race to its end? From within. Jesus said, "Behold, the Kingdom of God is within you. If with all your hearts, you truly seek me, you shall ever surely find me." If you commit yourself to the love of Christ, then that is how you run a straight race.
I find that those I know who seem to have real passion for life and for God seem to have a deep inner purpose and experience pleasure in carrying out that purpose. Have you been around people like that? What do you think of when you hear the word passion?


  1. Good thoughts Bob. Often, in our overly rational society passion doesn't get it's due because of our suspicion of emotions thus people who are passionate about what they do can and our looked down on. I see this frequently in my profession as a teacher. The really passionate teachers are thought to be too emotional. But, perhaps we need to re-examine this cultural bias and salute those who take great pleasure in what they do.

  2. I have yet to see this movie. I knew it was about running but I didn't know about who or what. I think passion is many misunderstood, in a negative sense.

    I say this becasue if there is one thing people who know me would say about me is that I am passionate. Some view passion sometimes as arrogance, intimidating, but I am am really not. But I can not help but be passionate about God, His Word, and His Churh!

    I like what you ended with KB - "...seem to have real passion for life and for God seem to have a deep inner purpose and experience pleasure in carrying out that purpose."

    I have absolute pleasure in teaching about God and His Church from His Word.

  3. A classic for all times and ages.
    What feel God's pleasure.
    We all need purpose statements for our lives, and we need to review them often, so see if we are living our passion!

  4. Yes, I love the movie and the two passages you have quoted are my all time favorite movie quotations.

  5. Thanks all for the comments!

    @Bill - Seems like the great teachers in my life had one thing in common - they all communicated great care for their students.

    @Gregg - I appreciate your passion for the scriptures.

    @Wanda - You are someone who seems to live out their passion. I would love to get a glimpse of your purpose statement. You can view mine here.

    @Alex - Agree with you. So interesting that Eric Liddel spoke of feeling God's pleasure when he did something that was not "spiritual".. makes you think about the delineation that some make between the sacred and the secular.


I love to get comments and usually respond. So come back to see my reply. You can click here to see my comment policy.