Posted by: rcottrill | February 10, 2014

Brighten the Corner

Graphic Bob and Christmas Book (2)HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More are being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.

Words: Ina Mae Duley Ogdon (b. Apr. 3, 1872; d. May 18, 1964)
Music: Charles Hutchinson Gabriel (b. Aug. 18, 1856; d. Sept. 15, 1932)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: The writing of this hymn in 1913 reflects a life of self sacrifice on the part of the author. (See the Wordwise Hymns link.) One story of how it had an impact on another person is told in the Cyber Hymnal. That account is one of many found on pp. 1-14 of Homer Rodeheaver’s book, Song Stories of the Sawdust Trail (Moffat, Yard, and Company, 1917). The Cyber Hymnal lists 133 of Ina Ogdon’s gospel songs, here.

T he message of this song is simple, but biblically sound. Perhaps we all have grand dreams of spectacular things we could do for God. They may be practical, or they may not. But the counsel of the song is do what you can do now, and the Lord may move you on to greater things in time to come. In the meantime, bloom where you’re planted.

CH-1) Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do,
Do not wait to shed your light afar,
To the many duties ever near you now be true,
Brighten the corner where you are.

Brighten the corner where you are!
Brighten the corner where you are!
Someone far from harbour
You may guide across the bar;
Brighten the corner where you are!

The word “bar” in the refrain, of course, refers to a sand bar, that build-up of sand that can sometimes be found near a harbour. The danger may be hidden from view, but a good navigator can guild ships around it. It stands as a metaphor for potential dangers, often unforeseen, that can threaten a person’s spiritual welfare. It may be we can help others to avoid running aground, by some wise counsel and timely aid.

Below are some things the Word of God has to say on the subject. Notice the repeated word, “whatever.” We may admire someone who has great gifts in service for the Lord, or a prominent and fruitful ministry. But, as the Lord said to Moses, “What is that in your hand?” (Exod. 4:2). It happened to be his shepherd’s rod, and God showed him how it could be put to use for His glory.

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might” (Ecc. 9:10). “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (I Pet. 4:10). Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him….And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” (Col. 3:17, 23). “Do all to the glory of God” (I Cor. 1:31).

A slingshot in the hand of David won a great victory (I Sam. 17:48-50), so did some trumpets, pitchers and lamps in the hands of Gideon’s three hundred men, though they were greatly outnumbered (Jud. 7:19-25). And in the hands of the Lord Jesus, one boy’s lunch fed thousands of people, with some food left over (Matt. 14:15-21)! Don’t despise the instrument God has put in your hand.

Possibly, your service is something that tends to be behind-the-scenes. A ministry that most people never witness, though they may enjoy some of the results. Never mind. Do it…as to the Lord and not to men.” Even if you are criticized by others, the main thing is that you are pleasing the Lord (cf. Mk. 14:3-9).

CH-2) Just above are clouded skies that you may help to clear,
Let not narrow self your way debar;
Though into one heart alone may fall your song of cheer,
Brighten the corner where you are.

There is value in a ministry to “one heart alone.” Philip the evangelist had that experience. The Lord took him away from a successful ministry to multitudes in the city of Samaria (Acts 8:5-8) to present the gospel to one man on a desert road (vs. 26-39).

It’s not a matter of wishing for, or even praying for, some talent God has not given us. Though there are exceptions to this, it often involves the Lord uncovering or revealing a talent already there, but hidden. Maybe a crisis or a time of painful trial opens up a new avenue of ministry.

That happened to Annie Johnson Flint. She was a school teacher and an accomplished pianist, but severe arthritis left her bedridden. It was then she took to writing poetry and, before he death in 1932, she gave us a great many insightful poems, two of which became the hymns God Hath Not Promised, and He Giveth More Grace.

CH-3) Here for all your talent you may surely find a need,
Here reflect the Bright and Morning Star;
Even from your humble hand the Bread of Life may feed,
Brighten the corner where you are.

Questions:
1) What gift or other resource do you have right now that could be put to use for the Lord?

2) What person can you encourage this week, with the message of this song?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


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