Dave Brisbin 3.24.19
Third Sunday of Lent: Flipping channels, ran across the movie Chariots of Fire. Hadn’t seen it in decades and got immediately pulled in. Story of two runners preparing for the 1924 Olympics—a British Jew and Scottish Christian who couldn’t be more different. As the Brit is using running as a weapon against the prejudice he’s endured as a Jew, the Scotsman simply “feels God’s pleasure” when he runs. And his whole life as both athlete and Christian missionary to China reflects his ability to do two things: to see through the surface task—whether running or teaching—to the deeper, spiritual task beneath, and to radically accept life as it presents in any moment. Whether the pressure of an Olympic event or the advance of the Japanese army into China, he remains himself, wholly committed to the welfare of either competitors or students. How did he manage to get to this kind of balance? In his early twenties, no less? 

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And more importantly, how can we? When we read from sources as diverse as Nehemiah, Ecclesiastes, Jesus at Matthew 6, and dialectical behavior therapy skills, we see patterns forming that give us clues to the how of this balance between work for change and radical acceptance, between the task at hand and finding the evergreen task within the task. And by leaning in right there we can begin to live the difference between identifying with our work, using our tasks as weapons of self-worth and simply feeling God’s pleasure as we run.

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