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DR. JIM DENISON, PRESIDENT
OCTOBER 18, 2011

The only relationship that matters

We’re discussing the ten most important spiritual truths I’ve learned, starting with the earliest and continuing to the most recent.

Today we come to #4: My relationship with Jesus is my highest priority.

Oswald Chambers was a spiritual genius. However, the author of the world’s most popular English-language devotional didn’t start out to be a minister. He was born in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1874, the youngest son of a Baptist minister. Like me, he was a musician growing up. Like me, he became a Christian at the age of 15 and was baptized into a Baptist church. But that’s where the similarities end.

Chambers trained at London’s prestigious Royal Academy of Art before sensing a call to ministry. He studied theology in Great Britain, America, and Japan. In 1907 he became a traveling speaker for the League of Prayer. On one of his trips to America he met Gertrude Hobbs (whom he called Biddy); the two were married in 1910.

He then founded the Bible Training College in London, serving as its main teacher from 1911-15. He volunteered to serve British soldiers during World War I as a YMCA chaplain. Two years later, his appendix ruptured but he refused to take a hospital bed needed by wounded soldiers. By the time he finally sought medical attention it was too late–he died in Cairo on November 15, 1917 at the age of 43.

His wife was a remarkable stenographer, able to take dictation at the rate of 250 words per minute. During his time teaching at the Bible College and in Egypt, she kept verbatim records of his lessons. She then spent the remaining 30 years of her life turning her records into his published works.

When I was pastor of First Baptist Church in Midland, Texas, in 1993 a very dear friend gave me a copy of Chambers’ classic devotional, My Utmost For His Highest. I have read it every morning since, and highly recommend it to you. Here’s my favorite paragraph from my favorite devotional guide:

There is only one relationship that matters, and that is your personal relationship to a personal Redeemer and Lord. Let everything else go, but maintain that at all costs, and God will fulfill His purpose through your life. One life may be of priceless value to God’s purposes, and yours may be that life (November 30 reading).

Our Lord’s command was clear: “Seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33). Your relationship with Jesus is your highest priority–the hub into which all the spokes of life fit, the only rock that will sustain your house in a storm (Matthew 7:24-27).

How close would Jesus say you are to him this morning?

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