Weekly Thought – January 21, 2020
Fred told people he read selectively. He chose topics and authors carefully. This week’s message is an answer to the question, “What book has most significantly influenced you?” This response was written in 1983. Several other authors became favorites, but Oswald Chambers never lost his prominent place.
Please pray for BWFLI as we craft an in-depth mentoring program for use in 2020.
I find no difficulty in naming my most significant book. It is My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers. This book has influenced my thinking and convictions more than any other book authored by man.
In December 1955 Grant and Orean Howard of Phoenix gave Mary Alice and me our first copy, thereby starting a chain of gifting that continues to this day. My friend and mentor Maxey Jarman wrote me in 1975: “I’ll always be grateful for the introduction you gave me to Oswald Chambers.” We plant seeds when we give vital books. After all these years we are seeing a fruitful and delightful harvest among our friends who read right along with us.
His thinking has become part of my reflexive thought. I quote him often both as an authority and the author of a shared experience he first coagulated for me. He has taken up residence in my mind.
Let me illustrate with five thoughts that continue to shape my attitude toward life which come from Chambers:
1) “Sit loose to things.” I recently received a phone call which informed me of a significant financial loss. I was able to think “sit loose…” I told myself “enjoy them, work for them, use them, but sit loose to them.”
2) “Lust says ‘I must have it now.’” Lust is often a matter of timing rather than possession. Psychiatrists tell us the most common evidence of American immaturity if the inability to delay gratification. Even in our emotions we refuse to take the long term vies. We hurry up to fill up our emotional valleys and holes with poor substitutes. We want relief NOW! Chambers showed me lust is much broader than I originally thought. It is refusing the normal rhythm of life, and failing to mature in it.
3) “So often we sharpen a verse of scripture and jab another with it.” I see too many who know chapter and verse, using it to intimidate the less instructed. Sadly, it is possible to sign most statements of faith and then live with an unloving attitude, injuring one another.
4) “We will not stand in large matters if we fail in smaller ones.” He constantly attacks my spiritual arrogance by pointing this out. It is easy to think we would be true and courageous in the weighty matters when in truth we are making exceptions for ourselves in smaller ones.
5) “The white funeral.” He calls us to truly die to self before we go through the black funeral of physical death. Too many of us have not completely died and been through the “white funeral.” Out of this experience comes the complete resurrected life, unhampered by the problems of human ego and self-righteousness. Dying to self and living in Christ gives life meaning.
I am happy to recommend the thinking and writing of My Utmost For His Highest. It is not entertaining, nor even exciting. It is compelling.
This week carefully consider: 1) What book has significantly influenced me? 2) How good am I about giving books to others? 3) Which of these life lessons strikes a chord with me?
Words of Wisdom: “His thinking has become part of my reflexive thought… He has taken up residence in my mind.”
Wisdom from the Word: “It must be with him constantly, and he must read it as long as he lives, so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God and observe all the words of this law and these statutes and carry them out.” (Deuteronomy 17:19 NET Bible)