Posted by: rcottrill | May 6, 2016

Saviour, More Than Life to Me

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Words: Frances Jane (“Fanny”) Crosby (b. Mar. 24, 1820; d. Feb. 12, 1915)
Music: William Howard Doane (b. Feb. 3, 1832; d. Dec. 23, 1915)

Wordwise Hymns (William Doane)
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: William Doane was a friend and frequent collaborator with Fanny Crosby, supplying tunes for many of her songs. For example: I Am Thine, O Lord; Near the Cross; Pass Me Not, O Gentle Saviour; ‘Tis the Blessed Hour of Prayer; To God Be the Glory; and Will Jesus Find Us Watching? One day in 1875 Doane sent a tune to his friend, asking that she write a song for it about “every day and hour.” The result is this hymn, which came to be a great comfort to Fanny herself.

In the popular film, It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey approaches the evil banker Henry Potter to ask for financial assistance. When George mentions a five hundred dollar insurance policy he could use for collateral, Potter chuckles maliciously, calling him, “A miserable little clerk crawling in here on your hands and knees and begging for help,” adding, “You’re worth more dead than alive.”

Think about that assessment for a moment. What are we actually worth? Of course there are insurance policies. But they benefit our loved ones more than us. There is the money we have in the bank. (For some of us, that’s not much to speak of!) Then, someone has added up the actual worth of our physical bodies to be considered.

Many years ago, the elements that make up the average human body (iron, calcium, and so on) were calculated to be worth about a dollar and sixty cents. With inflation, a more recent approximation comes to ten times that. There is, however, another way to estimate it. Consider the use that can be made of our bone marrow, DNA, organs for transplant, and so on. Looked at that way we could be worth millions of dollars. But, again, Mr. Potter’s sarcastic comment is right; we’re “worth more dead than alive.”

If we were animals, rather than human beings, stating our worth in financial terms might have a point. But we humans are a special creation of God. We are not only physical but spiritual beings. Man has not only a mortal and perishing body, but an eternal soul. The worth of the latter is incalculable. The Lord Jesus asked, rhetorically, “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mk. 8:36-37).

Think of it. Even all the fabulous wealth of all the world cannot be compared to the value of one human soul. To assess what something is worth–including ourselves–we need to adopt a spiritual and eternal value system. Life is more than simply a rocky trip from the womb to the tomb. The “Take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry,” of the rich fool (Lk. 12:16-21) is too short-sighted. Eternity lies ahead.

The Lord Jesus Christ took the condemnation for our sin upon the cross. God the Father laid the debt of all our sin upon His beloved Son. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us” (II Cor. 5:21), so that we, through faith in Christ, could be forgiven. But God’s gift has more long range benefits than that. In the words of Paul, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable” (I Cor. 15:19).

The saving work of Christ qualifies us for eternal blessing. “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16).

And life eternal is not simply quantitative but qualitative. That is, it’s not simply endless days, but endless days in our glorious eternal home, endless days in fellowship with God. “This is eternal life,” said the Lord Jesus, “that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (Jn. 17:3). It’s a life that begins now, and lasts forever. And knowing and loving Christ is the essence of it, for time and eternity.

That’s what Paul believed. He wrote, “What things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ” (Phil. 3:7). The believer’s personal relationship with Christ is an eternal treasure beyond imagining. In 1875, Fanny Crosby published a lovely little gospel song about the surpassing value of that fellowship with the Lord.

CH-1) Saviour, more than life to me,
I am clinging, clinging, close to Thee;
Let Thy precious blood applied,
Keep me ever, ever near Thy side.

Every day, every hour,
Let me feel Thy cleansing power;
May Thy tender love to me
Bind me closer, closer, Lord to Thee.

CH-2) Through this changing world below,
Lead me gently, gently as I go;
Trusting Thee, I cannot stray,
I can never, never lose my way.

CH-3) Let me love Thee more and more,
Till this fleeting, fleeting life is o’er;
Till my soul is lost in love,
In a brighter, brighter world above.

1) What value to you place on your relationship with Christ?

2) In what ways will others, hearing you speak, seeing how you live, observe the reality of that?

Wordwise Hymns (William Doane)
The Cyber Hymnal


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