Keldy and I began reading My Utmost for His Highest together on January 1. The title alone has haunted me for the past three days. My utmost…for His Highest. What else could be fitting for the one who died for me? My utmost is quite frankly still so very low. And yet His Highest is all he is willing to give: his own Son—-the Treasure of Heaven, the Pearl of Great Price, the Image of Infinite Beauty, the Love of Bottomless Depths, the Light of Boundless Radiance, the Song of Eternal Harmony, the Bond of Primal Love in Father, Son, and Spirit—-this very same High and Exalted One, He offers as a Lamb to be slain for my sins, as a Treasure lost, a Pearl trampled, an Image distorted, a Love betrayed, a Light hidden, a Song unsung, a Bond broken, a Son forsaken. What else could I offer but my utmost for His Highest?
Either legend or history has it that in 1732, two Moravian Christians from Herrnhut, Germany, Johann Leonhard Dober and David Nitschmann, were told of the African slaves on the Caribbean islands of St. Thomas and St. Croix, whose British slave owner had allegedly ordered that no missionaries be allowed to come in contact with the slaves to speak of God and the message of grace for all peoples. When Dober and Nitschmann heard of this, they made the decision to give their utmost for His Highest by selling themselves into slavery for the rest of their lives. As their ship pulled away from the docks, the gap between them and their family and friends slowly becoming as distant and definitive as death itself, it is said that one of the young men latched hold of the other’s arm and shouted into the gap: “May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of his suffering!”
My utmost for His Highest. What else is fitting for the One who died for me? My almost for His Highest? My 10% for his all? My hour for his eternity? No. Nothing but all I am is fitting for all he has given: all of himself in all of his love. Nothing but my utmost is fitting for His Highest, so when that day comes to stand before the One to whom we must give an account of our life, if I should receive a crown for any good I have done on the other side of grace, what can I hope for but a great and glorious crown, heavy and pure and bright, that I might dare hope to be fitting enough only to be cast down to the feet of the Lamb that was Slain, to give my utmost to His Highest, because I would have nothing to give had he not first given all to me (1 Jn. 4:19).
“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” (Rev. 5:12).
Attached here–Ramping Up Resolutions–is a challenge for 2014 written my Dr. Dave Currie, founder of Doing Family Right who will be preaching on Sunday and leading the iParent and Fusion 2:1 parenting and marriage conference next weekend with his wife Donalyn. I’m renaming it the “My Utmost for His Highest Challenge,” but call it whatever you want. I would just encourage you to do it with your spouse and family. It has seven practical steps to grow closer to God and closer to each other, seven practical steps to reflect on discovering and act on offering your utmost for His Highest.
May you be blessed with the richest grace of knowing Christ more deeply than ever in the coming year.