Posted by: rcottrill | November 27, 2013

Make Me a Channel of Blessing

Words: Harper Garcia Smyth (b. Mar. 16, 1873; d. Aug. 25, 1945)
Music: Euclid, by Harper Garcia Smyth


Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: This gospel song was written in 1903. Ten years later, Harper Smyth would become the music director at Euclid Avenue Baptist Church, in Cleveland, the street name giving the tune its name. This song seems almost to combine the words–or at least the themes–of two others: Ira Wilson’s Make Me a Blessing, and Mary Maxwell’s Channels Only.

CH-1) Is your life a channel of blessing?
Is the love of God flowing through you?
Are you telling the lost of the Saviour?
Are you ready His service to do?

Make me a channel of blessing today,
Make me a channel of blessing, I pray;
My life possessing, my service blessing,
Make me a channel of blessing today.

It’s a truth the Bible affirms a number of times–that we can only give, either to God or to others, what He has equipped us to give. He is our Creator, and the Creator of all things. All that exists comes from His hand, either directly or indirectly.

When Abel offered to the Lord the firstborn of his flock (Gen. 4:4), it was a gift from the world that God Himself had made (Gen. 1:24-25). When David gathered the materials that his son, Solomon, would use to build the temple in Jerusalem, he offered a prayer of thanks, recognizing the same truth:

“Now therefore, our God, we thank You And praise Your glorious name. But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from You, and of Your own we have given You” (I Chron. 29:13-14).

Giving to others is no different. The Lord told Abraham, “I will bless you…and you shall be a blessing” (Gen. 12:2). Out of the rich blessing of God, Abraham was able to minister to others around him. In the days of the early church, the Lord gave the apostles miraculous powers, which functioned as confirming signs, showing that they were representatives of Christ, and that they spoke with His authority (II Cor. 12:12; Heb. 2:3-4). Peter exercised this gift when he healed a lame man at the temple gate.

“Peter said, ‘Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth [i.e. by His authority and power, as His representative], rise up and walk.’ And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them–walking, leaping, and praising God” (Acts 3:6-8; cf. 4:10).

It was in connection with the ability to present these same miraculous signs that the Lord told the disciples, “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give” (Matt. 10:8). They were to minister to others out of the bountiful provision of God.

In his song, Harper Smyth makes a very specific application of this truth–that the gift we have been given is the gospel of grace, the good news of salvation through faith in Christ. Paul saw the gospel he proclaimed in that way. He told the Corinthians, “I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (I Cor. 15:3).

Paul was very clear that the gospel was not something he himself invented, nor did it come from human sources of any kind. It was given to him as a revelation from God. “I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Gal. 1:11-12; cf. Matt. 10:20).

The apostle considered this message a precious treasure that he was commissioned to share. “For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake….But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us” (II Cor. 4:5, 7). He became the channel through which God spoke to others, just as we are to be.

“Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God” (II Cor. 5:20; cf. I Thess. 4:1).

CH-3) Is your life a channel of blessing?
Is it a daily telling for Him?
Have you spoken the word of salvation
To those who are dying in sin?

CH-4) We cannot be channels of blessing
If our lives are not free from known sin;
We will barriers be and a hindrance
To those we are trying to win.

1) When a fire is put out, does the fireman’s hose get the credit for putting the fire out? How can this illustration be applied to our gospel witness?

2) Is there too much tendency in evangelism today to focus on the channel? What can be done to correct this?


Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


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