I’ve invited a dear friend to travel with me through The New Testament, Psalms, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes during 2015. He’s a spry Scotsman, still relevant in his old age and a long-trusted adviser.
In the journals I keep of our adventures, my traveling companion goes by the nickname O.C. — Oswald Chambers.
I’ve had a crush on this wise fellow for at least a decade, probably longer. We first met when a friend called me up to share a nugget from his writings. I was challenged, curious, inspired. I wanted to get to know him better.
Oswald is a wordsmith of the highest order and I believe he has a Hotline to our Lord and Savior because every time I sit down to listen, O.C. has something profound to say.
Consider his words for today, January 20:
“Sometimes we are fresh for a prayer meeting but not fresh for cleaning boots!”
O.C. quotes John 3:3, and it begins to make sense.
“Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
And then O.C. explains:
“Being born again of the Spirit is an unmistakable work of God, as mysterious as the wind, as surprising as God Himself. We do not know where it begins, it is hidden away in the depths of our personal life. Being born again from above is a perennial, perpetual and eternal beginning; a freshness all the time in thinking and in talking and in living.”
If I am only “fresh” and obedient when called on to attend prayer meeting, what good am I? Freshness that comes from being born again equips me to worship while I do the dirty work — like cleaning boots!
Today’s reading is so typical of my friend. He is a man of contrasts, a learned individual schooled in philosophy and the arts, but also possessing a great sense of humor
Hanging out daily with O.C. isn’t a substitute for time spent at the feet of Jesus. Rather, a visit from this sage pushes me closer to my Lord because his words always cause me to stop and think, and to hunger for a deeper understanding of the Word of God.
Dear Oswald would have turned 141 this year, over a century after he crafted the sermons he would share in English Bible colleges and in YMCA huts in Egypt. Thanks to the faithful work of his wife, Gertrude, Oswald’s words live on today in the book “My Utmost for His Highest”. Eighty years after his collected sermons were first published, the devotional continues to be among the top 10 best-selling Christian books. I know I have purchased more than a few copies through the years to share with friends and family.
Here are some parting words from my dear friend O.C.