Updated Edition in modern English
Sometimes the best gift a friend can give you, is the gift of another friend. To introduce you to someone who blesses and enriches their life, in the hope that you too will be blessed in the knowing.
Nell was a lady who had lived long, lost much and loved still. A woman of prayer, she shone with the radiance of having spent much of her life in God’s Presence. Over 25 years ago now, she introduced me to one of her most precious travelling companions. Oswald Chambers. It was a life changing meeting, and he has journeyed with me since, through thick and thin.
My Utmost for His Highest should come with a spiritual health warning. “This may seriously affect your spiritual life.”
It is not for the faint hearted. A series of devotional reflections on a verse for each day, drawn from his teachings to his students when he was principal of The Bible Training College in London, he packs a punch. Like a search light on the soul, he misses nothing, observing “the thoughts and intentions of the heart” allowing no self-delusion. He was a man sold out on God, abandoned to Him utterly, and his passion is seriously infectious.
He died in 1917 at the age of 36, while he was chaplain to the Commonwealth troops in Egypt during World War I . He died from complications following appendicitis. He had refused to take up a bed needed by wounded soldiers, and lost his life to a clot in his lungs following his eventual operation. One very brief life, but offered entirely to God, he is truly a grain of wheat falling to the ground and producing a hundredfold.
Instead of being gone and forgotten, more people know his name and writings today than ever did in his life time. This book and those others bear his name have been translated into scores of languages, and are read daily by millions around the world. The Book Depository describes this book as “The most popular devotional book ever published”.
If I may quote from a biography of him, by David McCasland called Abandoned to God, he asks, “Why the continued interests in the words of a man who was born before automobiles, telephones and electric lights? Why do his statements sound as if they were written right after he read today’s newspaper? The answer lies in the message and the man. The two are inseparable.”
Oswald Chambers: Abandoned to God
After meeting Oswald for the first time, one serious young man said, “I was shocked at his undue levity. He was the most irreverent Reverend I had ever met!”
A British soldier in Egypt described Chambers as, “ the personification of the Sherlock Holmes of fiction- tall, erect, virile, with a clean cut face, framing a pair of piercing bright eyes….a detective of the soul”
“A detective of the soul’ could not be a more apt description of Oswald, and of this book. It was published by his wife Biddy, after his death, taken from her verbatim notes on his teaching. I have read and reread him over the years, using the book as a daily spiritual check up. He points me to the God he loved and trusted. He allows me no self pity in suffering, no self satisfaction in times of success. He pushes me onwards when I am flagging and encourages me always to give my utmost for God’s highest , as he endeavoured to do.
As I have explored the rocky and dangerous territory of a vocation to ordination, he has been at my side, like a personal trainer, urging me on to more of God.
One of the CDs inspired by “My Utmost”
I have pressed this book into the hands of many friends over the years. Whether they too, have been enriched and blessed as I have been, by this man after God’s heart, I will never know. What I do know, is that whatever steep climb or twisty valley you may be travelling, you couldn’t take a more worthy companion.