About 100 years ago…
Oswald Chambers is some months away from his death. He gave his life to Christ at age 16 and has been committed to his Lord and savior. He was an evangelist and teacher. he gave away scholarship for an opportunity to study in Edinburg and that seems to become one of the many things he will give up. He finally gave up the privilege to occupy a hospital bed when he was diagnosed of an acute appendicitis, He said the wounded soldiers need the space more than himself. It was 1917, the 3rd year of World War 1. One of his several teachings included one expanding on the teaching of another man from over a millennium back.
About 2000 years ago…
Paul had given up his own life and picked up the life of his savior. He has preached in many countries and is now imprisoned for his faith. He was always in contention not for his life but for his faith. Death appears to always accompany him and he said so again in his letter to the Philippians. He put it this way at a point in the letter “My eager desire and hope being that I may never feel ashamed, but that now as ever I may do honour to Christ in my own person by fearless courage.” Philippians 1:20 (Moffat)
This became the reference for Oswald Chambers when he said “Paul says – “My determination is
to be my utmost for His Highest.””
The Most High God, King of Kings and the Lord of Lords is His Highest. As a manner of speaking, His Highest is similar to reverent titles like “His lordship”, “his eminence”, “his highness” etc.
Anything for My King
What will it be? Your best or your worst? Your life or your money, what shall be your tribute to your King?
Identifying my Utmost
…your best (Genesis 4:3-5)
Do you remember the story of Cain and Abel? It was not because of their names or faces that God accepted or rejected their offerings, He accepted the best offering. Abel gave the first and the best, while Cain gave a random offering. Take note that Cain was even the first to present offering but alas, God does not reckon position the way men do.
…Sacrificial (1 Chronicles 21:21-26)
Do you also remember David? He was wise enough not to give a sacrifice that is not sacrifice, he paid in full for Araunah’s field, ox and woods, and God accepted the sacrifice.
…Your whole (Acts 4:36-5:2)
Also very instructive is the story of Ananias and Saphira. Even though if they were honest, their part offering would have been accepted, but we must be careful when we are trying to negotiate something less than the whole with God. God will only accept the whole. Yes there is a place for the part, there is a place for the wave offerings but God wants the whole burnt offering too; the living sacrifice.
…Your all (Mark 12:42-44)
Do not forget also the widow and her mite, do not think it was the size that got Jesus’ attention, she got Jesus’ attention because she gave her whole. She gave her all.
We should not think Jesus only wants our money and not our time, let’s not think he only wants our ears and not our mouth. He not only wants each of these but also all of them.
…Your first (1kings 17:13)
We must also take note that we do not think that Jesus is only desirous of us and so we can as well do it whenever we like. I know He will accept us anytime, but He wants us now. Later can become never, so let’s do it now.
Jesus wants all of us, but He wants us first. This is what I mean, many people gets a lot of things in heaven but they themselves are not going in there (this is debatable), but the most important thing God wants is us first. I must also say that God is selfishly jealous. It is not about you or me first, it is about Him first. Whatever we give or do, we must give and do God’s first. I know we remember the story of the widow of Zarephat and Elijah (1kings 17:13), our utmost deduced from that story is our first. God wants our first, even when it is counterintuitive, even when it is contrary to public opinion and street wisdom.
…Your prime (Ecclesiastes 12:1)
God needs us when we are in our youths. I often ponder how I will be like when I become old (I trust God to fulfill the number of days He promised me) because each time I look at older people I imagine how it will be for me when I am their age, how I will want to beat them to stairs and doors, so I don’t have to be “unnecessarily” delayed. I ponder how it will be then when younger people will have to pass me by, put me down and pack me aside because my strength and speed would have waned. Then we must all ponder if we want to give God an agile body and a sharp mind or a carcass and a three-legged personality?
Bottom pot is sweet, but I have a strong feeling God doesn’t like it.
- God is the Highest. Is He in your life?
- Our utmost is our best (remember Abel’s offering)
- Our utmost is sacrificial (common in all of the examples but exemplified in David’s case)
- Our utmost must be complete and wholesome (Ananias and Sapphira vs. Barnabas)
- Our utmost is our all (remember the widow’s mite)
- Our utmost is our first (again a widow, and Elijah)
- Our utmost is our prime (Instruction of the preacher)
Bottom pot is sweet, but God doesn’t want it alone. He wants the pot and the content. It is no longer anything for our King, it is everything for our King.