Escaping the ‘once I have time’ fairytale

I read somewhere recently that for modern people, saying you’ll do something ‘once I have time’ is as much a fairytale as saying ‘once upon a time’.

The reality is that if we wait for ‘enough’ time to do that heartfelt, significant, deeply true thing, we’ll never do it. It will remain a fairytale of our existence, but not a true story.

Perhaps part of the problem is we are always busy pursuing our own unscrutinised opinion of what is important, or preparing endlessly for that great opportunity around the corner, or worrying what others might think, or even worse for us, worrying that they may not notice at all.

‘Readiness means a right relationship to God and a knowledge of where we are at present,’ says Oswald Chambers. ‘A ready person never needs to get ready.’ If we are trying to act without God’s reality in our life, not only will we struggle for time, we’ll struggle for identity, clarity and honesty.

Another problem is that we complicate action, losing sight of the simplicity of ‘obedience’. More wisdom from Oswald Chambers: ‘Our Lord must be repeatedly astounded at us – astounded at how unsimple we are. It is opinions of our own which make us stupid; when we are simple we are never stupid, we discern all the time.’

Oswald Chambers quotes taken from My Utmost for His Highest, April 18,21.

Heavenly vision in practical issues

I am a first time reader of Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest and so it was a special moment when I came across the phrase in a daily reading that lends itself to the title of the collection:

If we do not run our belief about God into practical issues, it is all up with the vision God has given. The only way to be obedient to the heavenly vision is to give our utmost for God’s highest, and this can only be done by continually and resolutely recalling the vision. The test is the sixty seconds of every minute, and the sixty minutes of every hour, not our times of prayer and devotional meetings.’ March 11

What is it that God has shown you and to what extent has this vision leaked? Take a moment to recall it and then do something, even tiny, to put it into action. PH

Jesus out-socialists the socialists

Following on from yesterday’s blog post All you have to do is live your life comes this gem from Oswald Chambers:

“Jesus Christ out-socialists the socialists. He says that in His kingdom he that is greatest shall be the servant all. The real test of the saint is not preaching the gospel, but washing disciples’ feet, that is, doing the things that do not count in the actual estimate of men but count everything in the estimate of God.” (My Utmost for His Highest, February 25).

Both quotes question our definition of success. Is a good life that quietly leaves a wake of happiness rated below a great life that is noticed and acclaimed?

Is being visible and acclaimed as preacher (or celebrity) to be more highly valued than the simple humility of servanthood? Is it possible to be both good and great?

What of the partly reformed alcoholic standing next to me, singing his lungs out and often teary because of how much he feels loved at his little church? Is he a picture of success greater or lesser than a large auditorium of well-heeled, attractive young people with hands raised?

What “count[s] everything in the estimate of God” in your life? Can you esteem it highly too or are have you given away the high ground of goodness and servanthood to greatness and worldly success? PH

Unhasting and unresting

Godspeed is fast enough
Godspeed is fast enough

We have a bit of a theme going in our community this month, Rest and Readiness. I for one am trying to get to March with something to spare for the rest of the year!

As part of that endeavour, I’m reading My Utmost for His Highest – it’s only taken me 40 odd years to take the plunge. On January 6, Oswald Chambers writes: ‘The measure of the worth of our public activity for God is the private profound communion we have with Him.’

But he debunks the idea that we have to separate worship, waiting and work. We are often told to put aside time forGod, as if putting aside time is an easy thing in our face paced world. Chambers recommends pitching the tents of our life ‘where we shall always have quiet times with God, however noisy our times with the world may be’. We follow the example of Christ who was ‘unhasting and unresting. It is a discipline, we cannot get into it all at once.’

Mmm, sounds like our idea of rest and readiness… takes a bit of learning but worth the try.