ArticleMissionary Life

10 Takeaways From My Utmost for His Highest

Even today, the words of Oswald Chambers can teach us how to endure the ordinary for God’s glory.
Almost every morning, I would find my mother in her reading chair with a Bible in one hand and a tiny, leatherbound book in the other.

That small book was My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers (and his widow), a Scottish evangelist and army chaplain.

Chambers died relatively young while serving in Cairo, Egypt, during the First World War. After his death, his wife Biddy collected his various journals and sermon notes and compiled them. As a court stenographer, she had kept precise records of her husband’s talks.

Biddy published 30 books under her husband’s name posthumously. Shockingly, she hardly left any sign of her own vital role in the making of one of the most well-known Christian devotionals.

A common theme throughout My Utmost is perseverance through the ordinary. If the Christian journey is a slow plod, then daily obedience to God in the mundane seasons is key to living for him. We must never overlook opportunities to reflect Christ—even in our daily routines.

These quotes from My Utmost contain applications for 1) the missionary doubting if his small ministry efforts are worthwhile, and 2) the Christian desiring to be faithful even in the little things.​

  1. “It’s one thing to go through a crisis grandly, yet quite another to go through every day glorifying God when there is no witness, no limelight, and no one paying even the remotest attention to us.”
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  2. “The height of the mountaintop is measured by the dismal drudgery of the valley, but it is in the valley that we have to live for the glory of God.”
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  3. “There is nothing thrilling about a laboring person’s work, but it is the laboring person who makes the ideas of the genius possible. And it is the laboring saint who makes the ideas of his Master possible.”
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  4. “Never confuse the trial of faith with the ordinary discipline of life, because a great deal of what we call the trial of faith is the inevitable result of being alive.”
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  5. “Sometimes it is not the difficulty of life but the drudgery of it that makes me think God will forsake me. When there is no major difficulty to overcome, no vision from God, nothing wonderful or beautiful—do I hear God’s assurance even in those?”
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  6. “It is one thing to follow God’s way of service if you are regarded as a hero, but quite another thing if the road marked out for you by God requires becoming a doormat under other people’s feet.”
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  7. “Are you ready to be less than a mere drop in the bucket—to be so totally insignificant that no one remembers you even if they think of those you served?”
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  8. “Beware of allowing yourself to think that the shallow aspects of life are not ordained by God; they are ordained by Him equally as much as the profound.”
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  9. “Christian perfection is the perfection of a relationship with God that shows itself to be true even amid the seemingly unimportant aspects of human life.”
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  10. “One of the most amazing revelations of God comes to us when we learn that it is in the everyday things of life that we realize the magnificent deity of Jesus Christ.”

Chambers fell short of his aim to do the Lord’s bidding, die, and be forgotten. Today, My Utmost is considered one of the most influential religious books of all time, having never been out of print since its first publication in 1927.

If you’re looking for direct ways to live for Christ amidst the ordinary, explore our opportunities to serve here at home in North America.


Editor’s Note: All quotes come from My Utmost for His Highest (updated edition), Chambers, O., © 1992 Oswald Chambers Publications Association, Ltd.

About the Author

Loren Skinker serves as a communication specialist with ABWE and managing editor for Message Magazine. He graduated from Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in communications and English.

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