This week a dear friend sent me this quote from Oswald Chambers’ devotional book, My Utmost For His Highest :
“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin” – they simply are! Think of the sea, the air, the sun, the stars, and the moon – all of these simply are as well – yet what a ministry and service they render on our behalf! So often we impair God’s designed influence, which He desires to exhibit through us, because of our own conscious efforts to be consistent and useful. Jesus said there is only one way to develop and grow spiritually, and that is through focusing and concentrating on God. In essence, Jesus was saying, “Do not worry about being of use to others; simply believe on Me.” In other words, pay attention to the Source, and out of you “will flow rivers of living water”. We cannot discover the source of our natural life through common sense and reasoning, and Jesus is teaching here that growth in our spiritual life comes not from focusing directly on it, but from concentrating on our Father in heaven. Our heavenly Father knows our circumstances, and if we will stay focused on Him, instead of our circumstances, we will grow spiritually – just as “the lilies of the field.”
Oswald Chambers (1874-1917)
This is such a great reminder! How often I try to fix myself and make myself grow by trying to change my habits or be more self-disciplined, when really all I need is to focus on my relationship with God, and let Him take care of changing me. Or else I get so caught up in my service for God – or as Chambers puts it, “being of use to others” – that I let it become a substitute for relating to Him.
This lesson was reinforced to me this weekend in listening to a couple of old audio tapes by the late Texas Baptist preacher Ron Dunn. In commenting on Hebrews 11:6, he said that the primary thing God wants from me is not my service but my searching. Service is merely the overflow of a life that seeks Jesus.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
– Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)