While enjoying a two-day get-away with my wife last week, I was fascinated to read this article about Elliot Huck. Elliot is a fourteen year old boy from Bloomington, IN, who in the past two years has won the regional Scripps Spelling Bee. Last year he finished 45th out of 250 plus contestants in the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. Yet despite training for about two hours a day over the summer to prepare for this year's bee, Elliot will not be there. Why? Because this year they moved the bee from Saturday to Sunday, and Elliot's convictions regarding the Sabbath Day means he does not believe he should compete on this day.
It was refreshing to read Elliot's views and attitude. He stated that he had sought to glorify God in previous years by spelling, and this year he will glorify God by not spelling. This story further piqued my interest (Or should that be "peaked my interest"? Help, Elliot, or any readers!) because Elliot attends Lighthouse Christian Academy in Bloomington, where Rachel Roberts, wife of Reformed Presbyterian pastor Bill Roberts, is the principal. How encouraging to see the Biblical training Elliot is receiving in his home, church and school giving him the strength to stand for his Biblical convictions.
And his convictions are Biblical. Isaiah 58:13-14, looking ahead to the days of the ministry of the Messiah, Jesus the Christ, promises this:
"If because of the sabbath, you turn your foot
From doing your own pleasure on My holy day,
And call the sabbath a delight, the holy day of the LORD honorable,
And honor it, desisting from your own ways,
From seeking your own pleasure
And speaking your own word,
Then you will take delight in the LORD,
And I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
And I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken."
This Sabbath and Lord's Day promised was the day of Christ's resurrection, the first day of the week (see Questions 57-62 here). Those who know Christ and the joy of keeping this day holy through worshiping God and resting from ordinary work and pleasures understand why Elliot would give up a goal he has worked extremely hard for all his life. He has done much like Eric Liddell did as dramatized in the movie Chariots of Fire.
With all the attention being given to sports heroes these days, many of whom claim to know Christ yet regularly showing no true regard for the fourth commandment, might we not point instead to Elliot as the true role model? Sure, he is bespectacled and lacks the chiseled physique of the athelete. Yet who does God Himself delight in - those possessing strength and speed or those who fear Him? Look at Psalm 147:10-11 if you need help with the answer!