Faithful Heroes: Oswald Chambers

Oswald Chambers is best known for his popular devotional My Utmost for His Highest.

Oswald Chambers was born on July 24, 1874 in Aberdeen, Scotland. His father, Clarence

Oswald Chambers

Chambers, was a pastor and evangelist. His mother was named Hannah.

At the age of sixteen, Chambers was baptized and joined the church. Even at this tender age he was noted for his “deep spirituality”, along with gifts in both music and art.

In 1893, he entered the National Art Training School {now Royal College of Art} for two years. He then studied at the University of Edinburgh for the next two years.

He felt called to the ministry and studied under Rev. Duncan MacGregor. When MacGregor was injured in 1898, Chambers took over teaching and much of the administration at Dunoon College, near Glasgow.

In 1906-1907, Chambers and his friend Juji Nakada taught at a Bible School in Cincinnati, Ohio and then went to Japan to work with a Missionary Society.

Returning to the United States in 1908, he got to know a daughter of his friends, Gertrude Hobbs. Chambers affectionately called her Biddy and they were married in May 1910. Three years later their only child, Kathleen was born.

In 1911, he founded and was principal of the Bible Training College in Clapham Common,

Oswald Chambers and his wife, Biddy

Greater London. “Chambers accommodated not only students of every age, education, and class but also anyone in need, believing he ought to “give to everyone who asks.” “No one was ever turned away from the door and whatever the person asked for, whether money, a winter overcoat, or a meal, was given.”

When World War I broke out in 1915, Chambers suspended the school and became a YMCA Chaplain.

In October 1915, he sailed for Cairo, Egypt. He was said to “see God’s hand in all that happened.”

“Chambers irritated his YMCA superiors by giving away refreshments that the organization believed should be sold so as not to raise expectations elsewhere. Chambers installed a contribution box but refused to ask soldiers to pay for tea and cakes.”

Oswald Chambers with his wife, Biddy and daughter, Kathleen

“What the skeptics had not considered was Chamber’s unusual personal appeal, his gift in speaking, and his genuine concern for the men.” Soon his wooden-framed “hut” was packed with hundreds of soldiers listening attentively to messages such as “What Is the Good of Prayer?” Confronted by a soldier who said, “I can’t stand religious people,” Chambers replied, “Neither can I.”

Chambers was stricken with appendicitis on October 17, 1917, but refused to go to the hospital. Emergency surgery was performed on October 29, but he died on November 15, 1917.

He was buried with full military honors in Cairo, Egypt.

Before his death, he proofread his first book, Baffled to Fight Better.

“For the remainder of her life—and at first under very straitened circumstances—Chambers’ widow transcribed and published books and articles edited from the notes she had taken in shorthand during the Bible College years and at Zeitoun. Most successful of the thirty books was My Utmost for His Highest (1924), a daily devotional composed of 365 selections of Chamber’s talks, each of about 500 words. The work has never been out of print and has been translated into 39 languages.”


Oswald Chambers would have remained anonymous if not for his wife #heroesofthefaith #faithfulheroes Click To Tweet


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