Oswald Chambers: Abased and Abounding

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I know how to be abased, and I know also how to abound: in everything and in all things have I learned the secret both to be filled and to be hungry, both to abound and to be in want. I can do all things in Him that strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:12-13

“Are you willing to sacrifice yourself for the work of another believer — to pour out your life sacrificially for the ministry and faith of others? Or do you say, “I am not willing to be poured out right now, and I don’t want God to tell me how to serve Him. I want to choose the place of my own sacrifice. And I want to have certain people watching me and saying, ‘Well done.'”

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. God’s purpose may be to teach you to say, “I know how to be abased…” (Philippians 4:12). Are you ready to be sacrificed like that?

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? Are you willing to give and be poured out until you are used up and exhausted— not seeking to be ministered to, but to minister? Some saints cannot do menial work while maintaining a saintly attitude, because they feel such service is beneath their dignity.”

Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest, updated language edition, reading for 5 February.

As we start thinking about the word ‘remember’ in 2021, we find many challenges. For example, while abounding is fun, what if God calls us to be abased, that is, to a level of service where no one remembers us? Today, I want us all to remember that God sees our sacrifices and the attitude of our hearts.

Think about it. Most of the work we do is menial work. It’s not glamorous and yet good workers give their lives to it. Teachers give hours to preparation for moments of instruction. Accountants give hours to audits and minutes to deliver a financial opinion. The list of examples could go on.

Yet, the only way good work is done with and for God is if we are willing to give and be poured out in the process. Are you willing? This is generosity at its best because it reflects what Jesus did for us. He made himself nothing. And the Apostle Paul beckons us to have the same mind (Philippians 2:1-11).