"Uttermost" is a word used in older translations of the Bible. It's certainly not a common expression these days. I can't recall the last time I heard someone on the street use the term. "Hey man, would you give me a hand with this flat tire? Sure, dude, I'll give you my uttermost.”
Actually, the last time I heard someone say "uttermost" was in a church service. That’s where it tends to hang out, concealed and hidden behind four walls (it needs to be set free). If you've been around church culture dating back a few decades, you're probably familiar with the devotional classic titled, My Utmost For His Highest, by Oswald Chambers (1874-1917). His title points in the general direction I'm headed. Uttermost is not only a stranger to our vocabulary, but it's also a stranger to our way of life and culture. It's an alien from another world walking amongst our ranks yet we are unaware of its presence because it looks like one of us, until it unveils its true identity, its true self. Then we can't help but notice the uttermost in all its many and marvelous expressions. Uttermost is astounding and simply awe inspiring. Here's the funny thing, here's the catcher: uttermost is one of us . . . and it's potentially all of us.
I’m getting ahead of the story. The Uttermost, in human form, is none other than Jesus . . . the one who reached the furthest and gave the most, and the one who gave the uttermost example of what it means to be truly human. Jesus initiated and set into motion the course of a new race of people and a call to enter and identify with that community, a family of diverse people who are willing to trek the uttermost road by following the example of the Uttermost. But even more profound than sheer imitation in following the way of the Uttermost is truly the mystery of the gospel itself. For the mystery of the gospel is this . . . Christ in you, the hope of glory. Not only can we follow the example of the Uttermost, we can live by the very life of the Uttermost.
This Life . . . the One who reached the furthest and gave the most . . . is not only our example and prototype, but our very life.
Think about it, as creations of Creator and bearers of the divine image and life, our innate makeup and archetypical wiring, our spiritual DNA you might say, is of the Uttermost. We’ll never be fully and truly human until we go as far as we can go. We’ll never know the true meaning to life until we give everything we have. We’ll never know lasting joy and fulfillment in life without pouring out our life from the innermost recesses of our being.
This is the way of the Uttermost . . . a journey . . . a road . . . a Person.
I'm presently writing a book titled, Love Your Guts Out. It's a great metaphor that describes what it takes to travel the uttermost road. My late wife, Toni, exemplified for me in living color how to walk this road. “Love your guts out” was her expression. It describes our very nature and purpose for which we were created. Give it up and give it all, your very best, from the deepest recesses of your innermost being to your uttermost.
My first book is titled, Street Crossers. The title is both literally and metaphorically applicable to this idea of the uttermost road. It's paradoxical as well. Think about it this way . . . if one meaning of uttermost is to venture as far away as possible, to the other side of the earth or to the remotest part of the planet, or greater still, to the far side of the galaxy, then what does that have to do with going no further than crossing the street directly in front of you? It's like this, the other side of the street might as well be on the far side of the galaxy when it comes to people you don't know, people of a different culture, background, upbringing, worldview, etc. To cross the street is like walking a road to the uttermost ends of the earth.
It’s time to hit the road.