seek ye first the kingdom of god
Boys and Men

Seek Ye First The Kingdom Of God: Living A Life Of Faith, Devotion, and Charity

The Apostle Paul led a less than perfect life. Remarkably, he became a fearless minister, full of wisdom, testifying of Christ through thought, word, and action, in an increasingly hostile world.

When Paul proclaimed: “According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.” (Philippians 1:20) it was as if he were saying, “I desire to give my utmost for His highest.”

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How does one give their utmost for His highest? By seeking first the kingdom of God.

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)

Jesus Christ will provide the needs of His followers as we devote our lives to Him. As we, with hearts full of CHARITY and GRATITUDE, dedicate our lives to the service of others, acting as instruments in the hands of the Savior, and, in so doing, build up the kingdom of God, we can join the Apostle Paul in giving our utmost for His highest. As Christine Franco so beautifully stated, “In reality, you can never love the Lord until you serve Him by serving His people. I love Him and desire to put away selfish desires in order to love and minister as He does.” 1

With the FAITH required to move forward in obedience to Christ’s teaching to seek first the kingdom of God, we give our lives to Him with full DEVOTION—always making our relationship with Him our first priority.

 

 

What does putting the Savior first look like?

It looks like the lives of Oswald Chambers and his wife, Gertrude Hobbs.

Oswald, a Scottish Christian minister and teacher, once proclaimed, “Shut out every other consideration and keep yourself before God for this one thing only–My Utmost for His Highest.’ I am determined to be absolutely and entirely for Him, and for Him alone.”

He then proceeded to dedicate his short life to doing just that—building up the Kingdom of God and making Jesus his first priority.

Born in Scottland in 1874 to a Baptist minister father and his gracious wife, Oswald studied art and music in London before abruptly changing his major to Christian ministry, something he said he would never do “unless God takes me by the scruff of the neck and throws me in”.

While serving as a traveling speaker, Oswald met Gertrude Hobbs. Their friendship blossomed during a voyage to the United States where, two years later, in 1910, they were married. Oswald affectionately called his new wife his “Beloved Disciple”, shortened to the initials B.D. and spoken as “Biddy”. She was known by this nickname for the rest of her life.

The following year, Chambers opened the Bible Training College in London where he lectured often. Biddy, a trained stenographer, skilled at Pitman’s shorthand, recorded his words verbatim from the back row.

To them was born one daughter, Kathleen, in 1913.

The outbreak of WWI in 1914 led to the closing of the Bible Training College so Chambers took his wife and young daughter to Egypt where he volunteered as a YMCA secretary.

“At Zeitoun Camp, near Cairo, Oswald quickly established himself as a friend of the troops and a man of uncommon spiritual insight.”

 

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Biddy’s Legacy

Biddy led her own ministry of sorts while in Egypt. “Against the formidable foes of heat, insects, and blowing sand, she continued a ministry of hospitality that produced the special touches of home for the troops so far from their families. In a letter to Biddy’s mother, Oswald freely praised his wife:

‘As for Biddy I love her and I am her husband but I do not believe it is possible to exaggerate what she has been in the way of a Sacrament out here—God conveying His presence through the common elements of an ordinary life. The letters she has received from mothers and wives and sisters and fathers and brothers are in themselves a deep testimony to a most unconscious ministry of wife and mother and woman.'”

Oswald had a unique perspective when dealing with daily life at the camp.

“In the desert camp [he] supervised the construction of rock-lined walkways and a myriad of flower beds. Some critics said it was a waste of time, but [he] believed that if physical improvements were not made and new touches occasionally given to the huts, they would reflect slovenly care, unpleasing to God. ‘A grave defect in much work of today,’ he said, ‘is that men do not follow Solomon’s admonition, ‘Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.’ The tendency is to argue, ‘It’s only for so short a time, why trouble?’ If it is only for five minutes, let it be well done.‘”

In 1917, to the shock and disbelief of all those who loved him, Oswald passed away while recovering from an emergency appendectomy. He was 43.

Biddy and four-year-old Kathleen faced the daunting task of moving forward without their husband and father. For the next two years, they continued their work among the troops at Zeitoun.

“Soon it became clear to Biddy that her calling in life was to give her husband’s words to the world”. Upon her return to England in 1919, she transcribed her shorthand notes and prepared them for publication. She worked to support herself and her daughter by maintaining a boarding house for students in Oxford. Printed in 1927, the daily readings that Biddy prepared from her husband’s lectures have sold millions of copies, in more than forty different languages. She titled the book, “My Utmost for His Highest“.

 

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“Kathleen described her mother as always having time for people. A knock at the door would take her from the typewriter to the teakettle. She considered it just as important to chat with a child from the neighborhood as it was to prepare the next book for publication. Biddy personally answered the hundreds of letters that came to her…By the time Biddy Chambers died in 1966, she had compiled and published some fifty books that bore the name of Oswald Chambers but never mentioned her own. Occasional words of greeting at the beginning of a volume, followed by her initials “B.C.” were the only evidence of her role.”

Ozwald and Biddy Chambers are remarkable examples of “God conveying His presence through the common elements of an ordinary life.” As their lives so beautifully reflected, meaningful connections are a natural byproduct of living a life of faith, devotion, and charity.

 

A pattern born of love, with threads of faith, devotion, and charity delicately woven together, this teaching of Jesus has the potential to change the world:

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)

 

 

RECOMMENDED READING: My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers (Gift Edition)

In what ways do you strive to “seek first the kingdom of God”? How has doing so blessed your life?

 

(Quote source: “My Utmost For His Highest” by Oswald Chambers)

 

RECOMMENDED: My Utmost for His Highest Devotional Journal

 

 

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Seek ye first the kingdom of God

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