The godly people in the land are my true heroes! I take pleasure in them!
~ Psalm 16:3 (NLT)
Human beings love heroes.
It is the reason that comic books movies are so popular, is it not?
Personally, I love the stories of the Christian saints who have gone before us. It is in the reading of their lives that I am reminded yet again that God has fitted each one of us with spiritual gifts, talents and abilities. He calls us to use those gifts to glorify Him and to grow His Kingdom. In reading the stories of those who served God with their whole lives, I remember that only God can see the impact our lives will have on those around us, and upon history–if we truly follow Him.
Those are the lessons that I wish to share with my children, and the reason we read so many biographies together.
I reviewed this book from Christian Focus Publications in return for a copy of Run the Race.
The Eric Liddell Story for Kids
When my boys were 9 and 8-years-old, we read Eric Liddell: Finish the Race by John W. Keddie from Christian Focus Publication’s the Trailblazers series. The book is written for 9-14 year olds, with a recommendation to read it aloud for ages 7-9.
According to one of Eric Liddell’s colleagues, Liddell’s favorite expression was “A God-controlled life”. Author John Keddie certainly paints the picture of a man whose life was God-controlled.
Eric Liddell the Runner
Eric Liddell (1902-1945) was born to missionary parents in China, and sent to Britain for education with his brother. It was in Britain that Liddell made two things clear to the world: One, he could run. Two, he loved Jesus and there would be no running, for him, on the Sabbath.
Much of Finish the Race focuses on Liddell’s Olympic career, and the stand he took for observing the Sabbath. Liddell began to speak as a witness for Christ, drawing crowds as a result of his success on the track.
As I read, I found myself wondering if all the uproar over the Sabbath was truly called for. I found myself pondering the fact that we refer often to the Ten Commandments, yet in Western Christianity we have a tendency to hold the Sabbath in such low regard.
I found myself agreeing with Liddell that this is, indeed, an important observance–not in legalism, but out of respect for our Lord.
Eric Liddell the Missionary
Liddell committed himself to missions in China, rejoining his family in Tientsin. He was to serve in China for the next 20 years.
During that time he married and had two daughters. In the midst of World War II and the attack on China by the Japanese, Liddell sent his wife (pregnant with their 3rd daughter) and his children to safety in Canada. Liddell stayed behind, ministering to both the Chinese and to the other missionaries. Eventually, he was imprisoned by the Japanese in an internment camp.
Liddell and the other missionaries imprisoned with him manufactured a highly structured little society within the internment camp, caring for each other in every way.
Eric Liddell never did see his family again. He died in the internment camp, rejoined to the Lord he loved so much.
Eric Liddell the Christian
Though there were some exciting moments in the book (a daring rescue in Japanese territory, his Olympic runs, and the prison camp), much of the narrative focuses on Liddell’s character in Christ.
What becomes apparent is that Eric Liddell was faithful, steady, and committed. He loved Jesus with his whole life, and he lived out that love in service to those around him. Eric Liddell’s eyes truly were focused on Jesus as he ran with endurance the race which was set before him.
Despite the steady nature of Liddell’s character, and thus the plot of the book, my children begged me to continue reading each day. They were mesmerized by the life of a man who loved Jesus enough to take a stand.
An especially helpful part of Christian Focus’ Trail Blazers series is the Thinking Further section in the back of the book with discussion questions and Scripture suggestions for each chapter. These sparked some interesting discussions for us.
John W. Keddie, author of Finish the Race, is a minister who has also written a biography about Liddell (for adults) entitled Running the Race: Eric Liddell, Olympic Champion and Missonary, as well as consulting on the film “Chariots of Fire“. Most interestingly, Keddie came to faith in Christ after reading a booklet written about Eric Liddell. Keddie was an athlete and found Liddell’s stand for the Sabbath intriguing. For Keddie, that was the beginning of a journey that ultimately led to a commitment to Jesus.
Following the end of our reading of Finish the Race, I asked my seven-year-old, “Why do you think Eric Liddell stayed in China when he knew it was so likely that he would be imprisoned? Why didn’t he go to Canada with his wife and two little girls? Don’t you think he would have liked to see his youngest little girl be born?”
I waited, curious to find out what my little man-in-the-making would say. He narrowed his eyes and set his face, as he does when he is about to make a profound statement. “Well, you know, Mom… those were very dangerous times,” he said while nodding his head,”and there were people who needed to be rescued. Sometimes rescuing is more important than leaving.”
There you have it. That is the reason I read biographies of Christian heroes to my boys. John W. Keddie’s Eric Liddell is an excellent addition to our collection and we enjoyed it very much.
Use the Eric Liddell Story with Studies of:
- World War II
- The Early 20th Century
- Japanese Internment Camps in China
- The Sabbath
Purchase Eric Liddel: Finish the Race:
Amazon: Eric Liddell: Finish the Race
Christian Book: Eric Liddell: Finish the Race
More Christian Focus Trail Blazers Books for Your Kids
Our family loves the Christian Focus Trail Blazers books. They’re perfect for ages 7-14. We read them as we studied history! Check them out.
Eric Liddell: Finish the RaceJohn Chrysostom: The Preacher in the Emperor’s CourtSamuel Rutherford: The Law, the Prince and the ScribeFrancis & Edith Schaeffer: Taking on the WorldTitanic: The Ship of DreamsWilliam Tyndale: The Smuggler’s FlameWilfred Grenfell: Courageous DoctorDietrich Bonhoeffer: A Spoke in the WheelElisabeth Elliot: Do the Next ThingBetty Greene: Courage Has WingsUlrich Zwingli: Shepherd WarriorLilias Trotter: Daring in the DesertIsobel Kuhn: Lights in LisulandJim Elliot: He Is No FoolGeorge Müller: The Children’s ChampionAdoniram Judson: Danger on the Streets of GoldPatricia St. John: The Story Behind the StoriesHelen Roseveare: On His Majesty’s ServiceJohn Newton: A Slave Set FreeJohn Calvin: After Darkness LightJohn Knox: The Sharpened SwordBilly Graham: Just get up out of your SeatRichard Wurmbrand: A Voice in the DarkMary Slessor: Servant to the SlaveJoni Eareckson Tada: Swimming Against the TideHudson Taylor: An Adventure BeginsAugustine: The Truth SeekerPatrick of Ireland: The Boy Who ForgaveBrother Andrew: Behind Enemy LinesLottie Moon: Changing China for ChristD L Moody: One Devoted ManNate Saint: Operation AucaJohn Welch: The Man Who Couldn’t Be StoppedMichael Faraday: Spiritual DynamoWilliam Wilberforce: The Freedom FighterC. S. Lewis: The Story Teller: Trailblazers SeriesJonathan Edwards: America’s GeniusCharles Spurgeon: Prince of PreachersGeorge Müller: The Children’s ChampionGeorge Whitefield: Voice That Woke the WorldAmy Carmichael: Rescuer By NightMary of Orange: At the Mercy of KingsMartyn Lloyd-Jones: From Wales to WestminsterHannah More: The Woman Who Wouldn’t Stop WritingFanny Crosby: The Blind Girl’s SongPaul Brand: The Shoes That Love MadeFrances Ridley Havergal: The Girl Who Loved MountainsCorrie Ten Boom: The Watchmaker’s DaughterGladys Aylward: No Mountain Too HighJohn Bunyan: Journey of a PilgrimDavid Brainerd: A Love for the LostJohn G. Paton: South Sea Island RescueBilly Bray: Saved From the Deepest PitJohn Stott: The Humble LeaderBill Bright: Dare to be DifferentCharles Simeon: For Christ in Cambridge (Trail Blazers)William Carey: Expecting Great Things (Trail Blazers)Jack Turner: Truth in the Arctic (Trail Blazers)Elaine Townsend: At Home Around the World (Trail Blazers)Thomas Clarkson: The Giant With One Idea (Trailblazers)John and Betty Stam: To Die is Gain (Trail Blazers)Maud Kells: Fearless in the Forest (Trail Blazers)Jim Elliot: He Is No Fool (Trail Blazers)Elizabeth Prentiss: More Love (Trailblazers)Polycarp: Faithful unto Death (Trail Blazers)Thomas Cranmer: The King’s Ambassador (Trailblazers)Olaudah Equiano: A Man of Many Names (Trail Blazers)
Christian Biographies for Kids | Christian History for Kids | Theology for Kids
Christian History Matters for Our Kids.
History matters. Now, more than ever, we see how important it is for our children to know and understand history and the Bible.
- God is the sovereign ruler of all things. It’s important for our kids to see his hand in the history of nations and in the lives of both peasants and kings.
- Christian history is the story of our family history. Our kids get to see how people who love Jesus follow him.
- Understanding history can help our kids learn historic and biblical theology. They learn what the Bible says and what that means for us. They also see when the study of Scripture has taken important turns that have changed the Church.
- Reading Christian biographies and history can be a wonderful way for kids to think outside their own time and culture. God’s Church spans centuries and includes people from every nation.
- Christian biographies help kids consider their own faith, walk with Jesus, and the impact their witness may one day have on others–and on history.
The Who What Why Series is the perfect resource to teach your kids about history, while helping them apply biblical truths to their lives today.
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