Posted by: rcottrill | July 11, 2018

I Am Not Worthy

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Words: Beatrice Bush Bixler (b. Nov. 7, 1916; d. Nov. 15, 2013)
Music: Beatrice Bush Bixler

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal (none)
Hymnary.org

Note: American gospel musician Beatrice (“Bea”) Bush was born in 1916. She married a pastor named Clair Bixler, and they had four children. Pastor Bixler served churches in Indiana, Illinois and New York. In addition to being a busy pastor’s wife, Mrs. Bixler wrote over a thousand hymns and gospel songs, including the popular chorus Life Is a Symphony, and she was in great demand as a soloist, accompanist, recording artist, and devotional speaker. She died in 2013, at the age of ninety-seven.

It’s a question we sometimes raise about individuals. Are they worthy of the praise that’s being heaped upon them by enthusiastic supporters? Or worthy of the high office or great responsibility they’ve been given? Or worthy of being entrusted with the great power they wield?

To some extent, worthiness has to do with desirability and esteem. But it’s often founded on such things as knowledge, strength, skill and experience, as well as reliability and moral rectitude. Whether we’re looking at a hockey coach, a teacher, a doctor, a used car salesman, a politician, a pastor, or someone in another role, worthiness can become a key issue. The Bible speaks of it many times.

Early on, overwhelmed by how the Lord had cared for him, Jacob prayed, “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant” (Gen. 32:10).

Near the end of the Bible, the worthiness of God, the Creator of all things, is proclaimed: “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created” (Rev. 4:11).

And of Christ (the “Lamb”) because He died to save us: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honour and glory and blessing!” (Rev. 5:12; cf. Jn. 1:29).

John the Baptist was divinely appointed to be the herald of Christ’s coming. But he wanted it clearly understood where praise belonged. He said, “He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry” (Matt. 3:11).

The Lord is fully worthy of all the praise and honour we can give Him. Therefore, says the psalmist, “I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised” (Ps. 18:3).

Each human being has dignity and worth given by our Creator (Ps. 8:4-5). And we are esteemed so highly by God that He sent His Son to save us. But we have debased our high standing in a spiritual sense, because of sin. We have also failed in many ways to carry out our responsibilities as lords of creation, under God (Ps. 8:6-8). We desperately need the redeeming work of Christ. Through faith in the Saviour, we’re forgiven, and spiritually reborn, and can rightfully be called children of God (Jn. 1:12-13; Gal. 3:26).

In ourselves, we don’t merit such a glorious blessing. It’s ours by the grace of God. Then, as Christians, we are called to live out the new life the Spirit of God has generated within us. We are to “walk worthy of the calling with which [we] were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:1-3). And servants of God have found it a cause for “rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name” (Acts 5:41).

In 1949 Bea Bixler created the gospel song I Am Not Worthy that expresses our theme. It’s not usually considered a congregational hymn. It works best as a solo or trio number. Many lines allude to specific Scriptures (e.g. Jn. 1:14; Eph. 1:6; Rom. 8:17, 32).

1) I am not worthy the least of His favour,
But Jesus left heaven for me.
The Word became flesh and He died as my Saviour,
Forsaken on dark Calvary.

I am not worthy! This dull tongue repeats it;
I am not worthy! This heart gladly beats it.
Jesus left heaven to die in my place–
What mercy, what love, and what grace!

2) I am not worthy the least of His favour,
But “in the Beloved” I stand;
Now I’m an heir with my wonderful Saviour,
And all things are mine at His hand.”

Questions:
1) What is the difference between being unworthy and worthless?

2) Which are we? And how do you know?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal (none)
Hymnary.org


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