Thursday, February 5, 2009

My Utmost for Him

I absolutely love Oswald Chambers' My Utmost For His Highest. Through most of last year, I read the devotional online every day, and often found myself convicted and challenged by the daily readings. Because of the complex language and theology, I often have to read each entry more than once to grasp its meaning. This year, I have started again to read it here and there, this time in paperback format, gleaning as much from the penetrating words as I did last time.

Today, however, I woke up at the scheduled 6:00am, and laid in bed, awake, until I had to get up and start breakfast - no time for morning devotions. Yet as the Lord worked on some issues in my heart this evening, I knew that I needed to seek Him - and that a blog post would most likely be the result, if not part of the process. Before I could even pick up my Bible - with My Utmost tucked inside the cover pocket - God spoke to me through my friend Erin's blog, A Full Heart. She quoted today's entry, which follows:
"Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy and rejoice with you all." Philippians 2:17

Are you willing to be offered for the work of the faithful - to pour out your life blood as a libation on the sacrifice of the faith of others? Or do you say - "I am not going to be offered up just yet, I do not want God to choose my work. I want to choose the scenery of my own sacrifice; I want to have the right kind of people watching and saying, 'Well done.'

It is one thing to go on the lonely way with dignified heroism, but quite another thing if the line mapped out for you by God means being a door-mat under other people's feet. Suppose God wants to teach you to say, "I know how to be abased" - are you ready to be offered up like that? Are you ready to be not so much as a drop in a bucket - to be so hopelessly insignificant that you are never thought of again in connection with the life you served? Are you willing to spend and be spent; not seeking to be ministered unto, but to minister? Some saints cannot do menial work and remain saints because it is beneath their dignity.
Erin related this passage to motherhood and the menial tasks of homemaking, which I well understand. Yet personally, I am already convinced that I am doing a very important work at home as I wipe noses and wash dishes. I know that I am serving God with each meal I prepare, every floor I scrub, every book I read to the children, and every word of faithful instruction. I actually enjoy the tasks of homemaking, even when they go unseen. But there is a fine line between my own sense of fulfillment and accomplishment, and pride. Yes, if unchecked, even the most heroic and humble of deeds can be quickly tainted by pride.

"I want to choose the scenery of my own sacrifice." Is this me? "Yes Lord, I'm delighted to do your will - as long as it is the very thing I'm doing, here in my own home!" What if the scenery were changed? What if God called me to a ministry, a job, or a location besides my familiar home? I don't believe there is anything insignificant about being "just" a wife and mother, but what if God did call me to take on an additional role? Would I be willing? Or is my eagerness to serve limited to the domain I find comfortably familiar?

In the New American Standard Bible, Philippians 2:17 reads:

But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all.

Lord, let me be willing to be poured out as an offering to you...wherever, whenever, however You would use me. Let me rejoice, not with pride or self-satisfaction, but with the delight to do Your will. Let me give my utmost for the work You choose.

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