Nearly every morning, along with my Bible reading, I read an excerpt from Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest and have done so for the past twenty years. My vest-pocket copy of this great devotional work is getting rather dog-eared and held together by layers of tape. Besides devotionals themselves, I have also written on the pages the significant events of the past twenty years that have impacted my life, births, deaths, weddings, the attack of 9-11, and many more.
Oswald Chambers died one hundred years ago on November 15, 1917 at the age of 43. At the time of his death he was serving as a chaplain to the British forces stationed in Zeitoun, Egypt. In John 15:16, Jesus called His disciples to produce fruit that would remain, fruit of a lasting variety. That millions of Christians read from Oswald one hundred years after his death is a testimony of fruit that remains.
Oswald was not published before his death. His wife, Biddie, who was a stenographer, kept notes of Oswald’s sermons and lectures. These notes turned into thirty books following Oswald’s death, the most popular being My Utmost for His Highest. It has never been out of print since it was first published in 1927. Thirteen million copies have been sold in nearly forty languages.
My love for Oswald comes from the fact that he speaks from a deep love for the Lord Jesus Christ. His invitation to us as Christians is to fall in love with Jesus. Oswald talks little about “doing” Christianity, he stresses the “being” Christian. Oswald was convinced that when one falls in love with Jesus, their works, or their doing, would flow from that love. He believed that the fruit of their lives would be a reflection of the depth of their love.
I can honestly say, over the past twenty years, Oswald has helped me fall deeper and deeper in love with Jesus. I have often said that the results of a good sermon are that the afflicted are comforted and the comfortable afflicted. One of those two happens to me every time I read my beloved Oswald. And though I am very familiar with Oswald’s devotional writings, they still surprise me and awaken in me things I have never seen before or considered before. It happened once again just a few days ago as I was contemplating a Christmas sermon.
Of the birth of Christ, Oswald talks of Him being born into history and also of Him being born in me. From the writings of St. Paul, he made the following comments, “’Of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you’ (Gal. 4:19). Just as our Lord came into human history from outside, so He must come into me from outside. Have I allowed my personal human life to become a Bethlehem for the Son of God?”
Those words, “…have I allowed my personal life to become a Bethlehem for the Son of God…” this year? I pray that, at this time, Jesus will not find the stables of our lives filled with so many other things that there is no longer any room for Him. Thank you, Oswald, for the reminder.