Posted by: rcottrill | December 15, 2017

O Lord of Heaven and Earth and Sea

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Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Christopher Wordsworth (b. Oct. 30, 1807; d. Mar. 20, 1885)
Music: Almsgiving (or Dykes), by John Bacchus Dykes (b. Mar. 10, 1823; d. Jan. 22, 1876)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Christopher Wordsworth)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Christopher Wordsworth was the nephew of famed poet William Wordsworth. For a time, he served as the head master of Harrow Boys School. Later he became the pastor of a church in an English town with the odd name of Stanford-in-the-Vale-cum-Goosey. He wrote many hymns, including O Day of Rest and Gladness, which presents three reasons why Christians have set aside Sunday as the Lord’s Day.

The history of money goes back a long way. In the beginning the currency used was things useful in themselves, such as livestock or sacks of grain. These were presented as payment for something else, a house, or perhaps a bride. Later, smaller and more portable things such as shells and beads became a recognized currency.

By 2000 BC, precious metals, gold and silver, were measured out by weight to make purchases. Abraham bought a piece of property as a burial ground for his wife, by weighing out four hundred shekels of silver (Gen. 23:14-16). The first coins came into use around 1000 BC, with paper money coming along much later.

Today, coins and paper money are still in common use, but two new means of payment are gaining ground. Credit cards were introduced in the 1950’s, and today many carry out Internet transactions from their computer or smart phone, with no physical exchange at all.

At the Jewish temple, in Jesus’ day, there were collection boxes with trumpet shaped openings at the top to receive the offerings of the people. In Luke 21:1-4 we see the Lord Jesus observing this procedure, and using it to teach His followers. The rich gave much, but a poor widow is commended by the Lord for putting two small coins in one of the boxes. Her gift was greater because she gave sacrificially, “out of her poverty.”

Giving to the Lord’s work has long been recognized as an individual responsibility. All of our blessings come from God, and we give to Him out of what He has given us (I Chron. 29:14). Someone has said, “Christian stewardship is the use of God-given resources to accomplish God-given goals.” Of course this covers not only our treasures (money), but also our time and talents being used for God. But when we put money on an offering plate, we’re giving it to the Lord, dedicating it to His service.

That means the church’s bank account becomes the Lord’s treasury, out of which His work is supported. In the early days of the church, believers met in homes (e.g. Phm. 1:2); there were no church buildings set aside for the purpose. (It looks as though the first came along in AD 231.) Now for most local churches, the upkeep of a building is part of their financial responsibility, along with purchasing the equipment and supplies needed to run a full church program.

Money is also designated for the support of church personnel. The pastor is supported out of the Lord’s treasury, so that he can give his full time to ministry (I Cor. 9:13-14; Gal. 6:6). And there’s an awareness that the congregation needs to assist those in special need in the community and beyond (Rom. 12:13; Gal. 2:10; I Jn. 3:17). As well, there’s the assistance of other Christian works (missions) across the world to be committed to (Phil. 4:15-16).

It’s important to be taught the responsibility of supporting the Lord’s work. We need to be informed as to what the Bible says about it. However, this presents a problem for some pastors. Because they themselves are financially supported by the church, they fear teaching on giving will be seen as an attempt to get more money for themselves from God’s people.

Pastor Wordsworth had a novel way around this. Discovering that those who attended had never been taught the duty and privilege of giving, he wrote a hymn about it, and had it sung about once a month. Apparently the gentle reminder worked. Givings in the church increased. (Note: the word “lend” in the seventh stanza is used in an older sense of give, or devote.)

CH-1) O Lord of heav’n and earth and sea,
To Thee all praise and glory be;
How shall we show our love to Thee,
Who givest all?

CH-2) The golden sunshine, vernal air,
Sweet flowers and fruits, Thy love declare;
Where harvests ripen, Thou art there,
Who givest all.

CH-3) For peaceful homes and healthful days,
For all the blessings earth displays,
We owe Thee thankfulness and praise,
Who givest all.

CH-4) Thou didst not spare Thine only Son,
But gav’st Him for a world undone,
And freely, with that blessèd One,
Thou givest all.

CH-7) We lose what on ourselves we spend,
We have as treasure without end
Whatever, Lord, to Thee we lend,
Who givest all.

Questions:
1) What do you have of time, talents and treasures that should be yielded to the Lord?

2) What is meant by sacrificial giving?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Christopher Wordsworth)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org


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