Friday, May 1, 2020

A Challenging Song

By Jim Faughn

    Lists like the following one posted by my friend, Edd Sterchi, make the rounds every once in a while. His title for the list was: “Hymns for the Sorta Committed”

I Surrender Some
It is Fairly Well with My Soul
Oh, How I Like Jesus
He’s a Little Bit to Me
I Love to Let Someone Else Tell the Story
Take My Life and Let Me Be
Where He Leads, I’ll Consider Following
Just as I Pretend to Be
Onward Christian Reserves
When the Saints Go Sneaking In
Sit Down, Sit Down for Jesus
My Hope is Built on Somewhat Less
How Neglected is the Book Divine
I Need Thee Every Other Hour
To Canaan’s Land I Hope I’m On My Way
    That list might be intended to cause the reader to do a little soul-searching. It might be easier, though, to smile than to look into the mirror (or the heart).
    There are some thoughts expressed in some of the hymns I sing that cause me to do very little smiling and a whole lot of soul-searching. For example…
    Do I really want to be a “soul winner for Jesus every day”? If that is true, I need to ask myself when the last time was when I had a Bible study and/or talked to anybody about the Lord or His church?
    Do I really mean it when I sing, “take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord to Thee”? Can others see that my lifestyle, my language, my wardrobe, and my choices of entertainment set me apart from the world?
    Do I really intend to “work ‘til Jesus comes”? If so, what have I done for Him lately? What do I intend to do in the future?
    There is one song that stands out above all the rest when it comes to causing me to do some real soul-searching. The words used to just sort of come naturally. I joined with others and sang them the best I could. All of that was before I took the time to consider what I was singing.
    Now, I find myself really taking a serious inventory of my life, my motives, and my honesty as I try to sing…

Make me a servant Lord, make me like You
For You are a servant, make me one, too.
Make me a servant, do what You must do
To make me a servant, make me like You.
    Do I really want the Lord to do whatever He needs to do to follow His example of service? As I consider my answer to that, I need to consider passages like the following:

Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered (Heb. 5:8, KJV).
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed (1Peter 2:21-24, ESV).
    One more thought comes to mind as I read these and other passages which connect the suffering of the Lord to my service to Him. This one really hits home (at least with me).
    The decision to serve the Lord and others is mine to make. In reality, the Lord cannot make me a servant. The Lord can provide opportunities; be the ultimate example; admonish; etc., but He cannot – will not – force me to do anything.
    We often talk of our status as “free moral agents” as a blessing. To be sure, that is true. I am thankful that we were not created as robots. I am glad that we have the ability to choose.
    At the same time – as is the case with most (if not all) blessings – this one comes with tremendous responsibilities. The choices I make about those responsibilities will determine my eternal destiny.
    Do I really want to be like Jesus in service?
    Do you?

- Jim Faughn, a retired preacher, serves as an elder for the Central Church of Christ in Paducah KY.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

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