Thursdays With Oswald—Love’s Focus

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Love’s Focus 

     We live in a complex world, a mass of sensibilities and impressionabilities that we are apt to imagine that it is the same with God. … The key to missionary devotion is put in our hand at the outset, “For His name’s sake they went forth” [3 John 7]. The key is amazingly simple, as is everything connected with Our Lord. Our difficulties arise when we lose the key, and we lose the key by not being simple. …  

     “Simon son of John, do you truly love Me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, You know that I love You” [John 21:16]. In verse 15 Our Lord had made a comparison—“Do you truly love Me more than these?” Here He makes no comparison—“Do you truly love Me?” To demand a declaration of love beyond comparison is to risk losing all. A missionary must be dominated by this love beyond compare to the Lord Jesus Christ, otherwise he will be simply the servant of a denomination or a cause, or a seeker for relief from a crushing sorrow in work. Many go into Christian work not for the sake of His Name, but in order to find surcease from their own sorrow; because of unrequited love; or because of a bereavement or a disappointment. Such workers are not dominated by the Master, and they are likely to strew the mission field with failure and sighs, and to discourage those who work with them. There is only one thing stronger than any of these feelings, and that is love.

From So Send I You

It’s a good question for any Christian to ask themselves: Why do I do what I do?

Does it seem like a good idea? A noble idea? Is it because someone asked me to help? Maybe I saw a need that wasn’t being addressed?

Or do I do what I do as a Christian because I am so in love with Jesus—so focused on Him—that I cannot help but stay “on mission” with Him? His directive was not to DO things, but to BE His witness wherever I went, teaching people whatever He taught me (see Matthew 28:19-20).

Love for Christ should be the only reason we do what we do.

Poetry Saturday—Truth

William CowperOh how unlike the complex works of man,
Heaven’s easy, heartless, unencumbered plan!
No meretricious graces to beguile,
No clustering ornaments to clog the pile,
From ostentation, as from weakness, free,
It stands, like the cerulean arch we see,
Majestic in its own simplicity.
Inscribed above the portal, from afar
Conspicuous as the brightness of a star,
Legible only by the light they give,
Stand the soul-quickening words—BELIEVE AND LIVE. —William Cowper

Simply Profound

This morning I went to “Donuts With Dad” with my youngest son. It’s a time for Dads to bring their kids to school, grab a donut, and then walk around the school with their child. It was so cool seeing how excited my son was for me to be there with him!

We sat in his classroom to eat our donut, then he gave me the grand tour — the library, the computer lab, the lunch room, the art room, and the gym. So simple, yet so important to him.

Earlier in the morning on my way to drop off my older children at their school, we were reading this passage in Colossians

It’s that simple. That is the substance of our Message. We preach Christ, warning people not to add to the Message. We teach in a spirit of profound common sense so that we can bring each person to maturity. To be mature is to be basic. Christ! No more, no less. That’s what I’m working so hard at day after day, year after year, doing my best with the energy God so generously gives me.

So I’ve been thinking: if the simple things are the joy-filled things, why do we insist on making things so complicated in our Christian faith? We tell God’s children, “To be in a relationship with God you must do thus-and-so, and you must do it this many times each week, and you must to it this way.”

Must, must, must. Complex rule after convoluted rule after antiquated rule. Why not simply say, “Love God will all that you’ve got. Just love Him in the unique way He made you to love Him”?

There’s great joy in simplicity. There is a profoundness in simplicity. Here’s to a simpler walk with Christ!

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