Answering the Call

Oswald Chambers (1874-1917) An itinerant Bible teacher who was converted under the ministry of Charles Spurgeon

“I shall never go into the ministry until God takes me by the scruff of the neck and throws me in.” Most Christians would be surprised to know that these words were spoken by Oswald Chambers, author of the devotional book “My Utmost for His Highest.”

When he wrote these words, Oswald Chambers was in art school, preparing to turn the world of art upside down by being a witness for Christ to an exclusive group of people. He was a gifted artist and probably would have done well, but God closed door after door in his face and called him in another direction.

Chambers wrote to a friend, “the repeated and pointed shutting of doors that seemed just opening . . . leads me to consider most earnestly before God what is His will.” Shortly after this he wrote, “my whole being is ablaze and passionately on fire to preach Christ. All my art aims are swallowed up in this now. . . . in the midst of a keen consciousness of complete unworthiness, my soul cries out within me—Here am I, send me.”

Once Chambers surrendered to the call of God, God began to use him mightily. After ministering as a traveling preacher and as the principal of a Bible training college, Chambers entered his last and greatest field of service—reaching British and Australian soldiers from a Y.M.C.A. tent in Cairo during W.W.I. Although seasoned workers predicted that the soldiers would never attend religious meetings, the tent was packed with hundreds of men every week. Many of the entries in his devotional book come from the talks given in that meeting tent. The Chambers also kept a continually opened house where they were able to reach thousands of soldiers. Chambers died at just forty-three, but hundreds of thousands have been inspired to earnestly seek God because of his little book, “My Utmost for His Highest”.

When God clearly directs, the choice is simple: to obey, or disobey. Are we seeking God’s will, or stubbornly searching for an open door in an area where they all close in our faces?

Quotations from Oswald Chambers: Abandoned to God by David McCaseland