I love to read the works of Christian writers from the past. As they ponder the timeless truths of Scripture, the holiness of God and the flawed nature of humanity in their day and age; I take courage and grow in my faith in the time and location designated for my span of years.
Many people will compare our times to theirs and say things have always been bad so we are not any worse, but in this I disagree. Beth Moore stated in one of her teachings that evil has always been the fullness of itself and the capacity of depravity in mankind is the same. But as the days grow closer to the Lord’s return we will see the incidences and acts of evil grow in intensity and frequency.
I would say we are there.
So when I read the words of the classic Christian voices that spoke for the Gospel and not for popularity in their time, I am strengthened to do the same in mine.
Oswald Chambers is one of the voices who have helped expand my desire to live out the Bible that I read daily. He constantly chastens me and sharpens my understanding of Scripture. He calls me out when I am shallow and he holds nothing back in forcing me to measure myself constantly to the example of Christ alone.
I have read through My Utmost for His Highest so many years now and every page is marked up with dates, hearts, “ouch”, “amen” and how that days passage connects to another message God is bringing to the forefront of my mind.
Monday’s entry spoke to my heart and a question I have asked constantly in the days of upheaval in our nation recently. I want to first say that this is not a political statement.
Let me repeat myself.
THIS IS NOT A POLITICAL STATEMENT.
So please, if you are offended or want to take it to that level know that I will not entertain any comments about the events that have happened in our country. I understand both sides of preserving history and the anger that some parts of history continue to bring to our fellow citizens.
As statues and reminders of heroes of the Confederate army have been pulled down, I have wondered in my heart why we have, as humans, such a need to build statues or honor one another in permanent ways as if any one of us was worthy of being memorialized as a perfect example of anything.
The United States is not alone in this as it is true to all cultures that statues are built to honor leaders and monuments are raised to commemorate victories; but all of these are not precious and loved and celebrated by all people. In all cultures and periods of history, the heroes of some are the villains of others.
We are all flawed. Even the best and finest humanitarian has things in his or her life that are ugly and if left unchecked would bring harm to themself and others. But we are always looking for the next cause or person to deify with some kind of concrete (sometimes literally) memorial.
I think that is why Moses was taken off by God and buried in a secret place and why the tomb of Jesus was left unmarked. If there had been a definite place marked, most assuredly a statue would have been erected and a new symbol of “worship” would have come about.
When I thought about it, the only monument I could think of that God asked the Israelites to build was a pile of stones picked up from a dry river bed. Twelve stones, one for each of the tribes, were carried from the Jordan as they crossed into the Promised Land. God told them to stack them there along the river bank and when, in the years to come, their children asked what the stones were for; they could recount how God had carried them from slavery to freedom.
Ah. But I digress…because Oswald speaks to this question in me. He equates our need to find or be heroes to our faith life and our tendency to look for “spiritual heroes.”
“In the Scriptures, the great miracle of the incarnation slips into the ordinary life of a child; the great miracle of the transformation fades into the demon-possessed valley below; the glory of the resurrection descends into a breakfast at the seashore. This is not an anticlimax, but a great revelation of God.”Oswald Chambers, November 16; My Utmost for His Highest, edited by James Ryman, Discovery House 1992
Oswald goes on to say that “we have a tendency to look for wonder in our experiences, and we mistake heroic actions for real heroes.” He says that there is a difference between going through a crisis experience in a grand and admirable way and living out the ordinary demands of the regular every-day glorifying God when no one sees or notices.
He points out that we make assessments of who the movers and shakers are by what we see, but for God it is the hidden life of His saints who serve without fanfare that is noted and precious in His sight.
Rather than building statues and monuments to humans who were called to rise up and lead during more eventful times of history, we should be cultivating in ourselves a determination to…
-> prepare the frozen pizza for the kiddos, for the glory of God
-> stand outside the window and try to talk through a cell phone to our loved one, for the glory of God
-> put on the scrubs and masks and hand the doctor a scalpel, for the glory of God
-> answer the email and solve the problem, for the glory of God
-> send the “just thinking of you card”, for the glory of God
-> pick up the neighbor’s garage cans that blew into the street, for the glory of God
-> bite back the retort that rose to the lips, for the glory of God
-> erect an altar in your heart where you worship Jesus Christ alone and trust Him for all your needs, for the glory of God
-> do any of the mundane, repetitive tasks that mark our days, for the glory of God
We are living in trying times, my friends, but times in which we were most assuredly placed to serve and to bring glory to God.
Oswald reminds me that my purpose is not to be noticed for myself; but that in all I do, people would see the living Christ in me and the difference He has made.
He is my hero.
And it is up to me to make His name and His deeds famous; not be erecting a statue, but by being a living testimony of His mercy, grace and truth.
Bless you as you ponder this today <3