The Touch of the Master's Hand
'Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin,
But he held it up with a smile.
"What am I bidden, good folk?" he cried,
"Who'll start the bidding for me?
A dollar -- a dollar -- then two, only two --
Two dollars, and who'll make it three?"
"Going for three" -- but no --
From the room far back, a gray-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow,
Then, wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening the loosened strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet
As a caroling angel sings.
The music ceased and the auctioneer,
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said, "Now what am I bid for the old violin?"
And he held it up with the bow,
"A thousand dollars -- and who'll make it two?
Two thousand -- and who'll make it three?
"Three thousand once -- three thousand twice --
And going -- and gone," cried he.
The people cheered, but some of them cried,
"We do not understand.
What changed its worth?"
Quick came the reply
"The touch of the Master's hand."
And many a man with life out of tune,
And battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap, to a thoughtless crowd,
Much like the old violin.
A "mess of pottage" -- a glass of wine,
A game -- and he travels on:
He is going once -- and going twice --
He's going -- and almost gone!
But the master comes, and the foolish crowd
Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul,
And the change that's wrought.
By the touch of the master's hand.
I asked God for strength,
That I might achieve
I was made weak,
That I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health,
That I might do great things
I was given infirmity,
That I might do better things.
I asked for riches,
That I might be happy;
I was given poverty,
That I might be wise.
I asked for power,
That I might have the praise of men;
I was given weakness,
That I might feel the need for God.
I asked for all things,
That I might enjoy life;
I was given life,
That I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for;
But everything I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself.
My unspoken prayers were answered.
I am among all men,
Most richly blessed.
Everything that comes into my life
comes across His desk first.
A block of marble stood
Before the sculptor where He would
He smote with hand well skilled,
And thus with blow on blow fulfilled
The vision of his mind.
At first with chisel coarse and stroke,
Unspared, the corners off He broke,
And soon the form appeared.
And then, with finer tools he wrought
And finer yet, until He brought
The perfect image forth.
So, with unerring skillfulness
With cunning hand and sure;
'Tis as the marble groweth less,
The likeness groweth more.'
So God divinely works with those
He, in eternal ages chose
To show His work of grace;
And thus, with blow on blow to trace
The image of His Son!
The weary ones had rest, the sad had joy
That day, and wondered "how"
A plough-man singing at his work had prayed,
"Lord, bless them now."
Away in foreign lands they wondered "how"
Their simple words had power.
At home, the "Gleaners," two or three, had met
To pray an hour.
Yes, we are always wondering "how?"
Because we do not see
Someone, unknown perhaps, and far away,
On bended knee.
Love: the sustained direction of your heart
toward another's good.
How changed is life since now I see
O blessed truth -- Christ lives in me!
His spirit fills me day by day,
and as I yield, directs my way.
I need not cry in times of strife
For Him to come into my life;
For He is there since I believed
And Christ's atoning work received.
O grant, Lord Jesus, mine may be --
A life surrendered unto Thee.
The vessel need not be of gold,
Need not be strong or wise or bold.
But Lord the vessel Thou shalt choose,
It must be clean for Thee to use;
So fill my heart till all shall see --
A living, reigning Christ in me.
He placed me in a little cage,
Away from gardens fair;
But I must sing the sweetest song
Because he placed me there.
Not beat my wings against the cage,
If it's my Makers will,
But raise my voice to heaven's gate
And sing the louder still!
You always decide to please
the one you love the most.
People don't care how much you know
until they know how much you care.
I am only one, but I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But I can do something;
And what I can do, I ought to do
What I ought to do,
By God's grace, I will do.
~ Edward Everett Hale
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels,
that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
~ 2 Corinthians 4:7
Disappointment -- His appointment,
Change one letter, then I see
That the thwarting of my purpose
Is God's better choice for me.
His appointment must be blessing
Tho' it may come in disguise,
For the end from the beginning
Open to His wisdom lies.
Disappointment -- His appointment,
No good will He withhold;
From denials oft we gather
Treasures of His love untold
Well He knows each broken purpose
Leads to fuller, deeper trust,
And the end of all His dealings
Proves our God is wise and just.
Disappointment -- His appointment,
Lord, I take it then, as such,
Like clay in hands of a potter,
Yielding wholly to Thy touch.
My life's plan is Thy molding;
Not one single choice be mine.
Let me answer, unrepining --
"Father, not my will, but Thine."
But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
~I Peter 3:4
Be like the dewdrop that finds a drooping rose and sinks down into its folds and loses itself but revives the weary flower. So be content to do good, and bless the life that needs your benediction, and be content to be only remembered by what you have done.
"Go break the needy sweet charity's bread;
For giving is living" the angel said.
"And must I keep giving again and again?"
My angry and pitiless answer ran.
"Oh, no," said the Angel -- piercing me through;
"Just give till the master stops giving to you."
Jesus Thy Boundless Love
Jesus, Thy boundless love to me
No tho't can reach, no tongue declare;
Oh, knit my thankful heart to Thee,
And reign without a rival there:
Thine wholly Thine alone, I am
Be Thou alone my constant flame.
Oh, grant that nothing in my soul
May dwell but Thy pure love alone.
Oh, may Thy love possess me whole --
My joy my treasure, and my crown.
All coldness from my heart remove;
May every act, word, thought be love.
Oh, Love, how gracious is Thy way!
All fear before Thy presence flies;
Care, anguish, sorrow melt away
Where'er Thy healing beams arise.
Oh, Jesus, nothing may I see,
Nothing desire or seek -- but Thee.
I Know Not Why
I know not why His hand is laid
In chastening on my life;
Nor why it is my little world
Is filled so full of strife.
I know not why, when faith looks up
And seeks for rest from pain,
That o'er my sky fresh clouds arise
And drench my path with rain.
I know not why my prayers so long
By Him have been denied;
Not why, while others' ships sail on,
Mine should in port abide.
But I do know God is love,
That He my burden shares;
and though I may not understand,
I know, for me, He cares.
~ Grace Troy
Sermons We See
I'd rather see a sermon,
than hear one any day.
I'd rather one should walk with me,
than mearely show the way.
The eye's a better pupil
and more willing than the ear;
Fine counsel is confusing
but example's always clear;
And the best of all the preachers
are the men who live their creeds,
For to see the good in action
is what everybody needs.
I can soon learn how to do it
if you'll let me see it done.
I can watch your hands in action,
but your tongue too fast may run.
And the lectures you deliver
may be very wise and true,
But I'd rather get my lesson
by observing what you do.
For I may misunderstand you
and the high advise you give,
But there's no misunderstanding
how you act and how you live.
~ Edger A. Guest
The God of Comfort
I have been through the valley of weeping,
The valley of sorrow and pain;
But the God of all comfort was with me,
At hand to uphold and sustain.
As the earth needs the clouds and the sunshine,
Our soul needs both sorrow and joy,
So He places us oft in the furnace,
The dross from the gold to destroy.
When He leads through some valley of trouble
His omnipotent hand we can trace;
For the trials and sorrows He sends us
Are part of His lessons of grace.
Oft we shrink from the purging and pruning,
Forgetting the husbandman knows
That the deeper the cutting and paring
The richer the cluster that grows.
Well he knows that affliction is needed,
He has a wise purpose in view;
And in the dark valley He whispers,
"Hereafter thou shalt know what I do."
As we travel through life's shadowed valley,
Fresh springs of His love ever rise,
And we learn that our sorrow and losses
Are blessings just sent in disguise.
So we'll follow wherever He leads us,
let the path be dreary or bright,
For we've proved that our God can give comfort,
Our God can give songs in the night.
I cannot think that God has meant
For shadows to be fearsome things,
Else He would not have given us
The shadow of His wings;
Nor would His tall trees by the way
Trace out a cool, sweet place
Where weary travelers may pause
To find His soothing grace;
Nor would the shadows of the night
Enfold us in that tranquil rest
That falls upon the sleeping babe
Rocked at its mother's breast.
And though the shadows over life
May seem to creep apace,
Behind the darkest of of them
Is His assuring face.
~ Mrs. Claude Allen McKay
Whom God Chooses
When god wants to drill a man,
and thrill a man, and skill a man,
When God wants to mold a man,
To play the noblest part;
When He yearns with all His heart
To create so great and bold a man,
That all the world shall be amazed,
Watch his methods; watch His ways.
How He ruthlessly perfects
When He royally elects!
How He hammers him and hurts him
And with mighty blows converts him
Into trial shapes of clay
Which only God understands;
While his tortured heart is crying,
And He lifts beseeching hands!
How He bends but never breaks
When His good He undertakes.
How He uses whom he chooses,
And with every purpose fuses him;
But every act induces him
To try His splendor out --
God knows what He's about!
Go then, earthly fame and treasure!
Come disaster, scorn, and pain!
In Thy service, pain is pleasure;
With Thy favor, loss is gain.
I have called Thee, Abba, Father;
I have stayed my heart on Thee.
Storms may howl, and clouds may gather;
All must work for good to me.
~ Henry F. Lyte