BLEST BE THE TIE THAT BINDS
John Fawcett, 1740–1817
Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. (1 John 2:10)
“We just cannot break the ties of affection that bind us to you dear friends.” As Mary Fawcett assured the little congregation at Wainsgate, England, of the bond of love that she and her husband felt for their poor peasant parishioners, Pastor John decided to express his feelings in a poem about the value of Christian fellowship.
The following Sunday, John Fawcett preached from Luke 12:15: “A man’s life consists not in the abundance of the things he possesses.” He closed his sermon by reading his new poem, “Brotherly Love.”
At the age of 26, John Fawcett and his new bride, Mary, began their ministry at an impoverished Baptist church in Wainsgate. After seven years of devoted service in meager circumstances, they received a call to the large and influential Carter’s Lane Baptist Church in London. After the wagons were loaded for the move, the Fawcetts met their tearful parishioners for a final farewell. “John, I cannot bear to leave. I know not how to go!” “Nor can I either,” said the saddened pastor. “We shall remain here with our people.” The order was then given to unload the wagons.
John and Mary Fawcett carried on their faithful ministry in the little village of Wainsgate for a total of 54 years. Their salary was estimated to be never more than the equivalent of $200.00 a year, despite Fawcett’s growing reputation as an outstanding evangelical preacher, scholar, and writer. Among his noted writings was an essay, “Anger,” which became a particular favorite of King George III. It is reported that the monarch promised Pastor Fawcett any benefit that could be conferred. But the offer was declined with this statement: “I have lived among my own people, enjoying their love; God has blessed my labors among them, and I need nothing which even a king could supply.” Such was the man who gave us these loving words:
Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love! The fellowship of kindred minds is like to that above.
Before our Father’s throne we pour our ardent prayers; our fears, our hopes, our aims are one, our comforts and our cares.
We share our mutual woes, our mutual burdens bear; and often for each other flows the sympathizing tear.
When we asunder part it gives us inward pain; but we shall still be joined in heart, and hope to meet again.
For Today: Psalm 133; Matthew 18:20; John 13:34, 35; Hebrews 13:1
Appreciate anew your Christian friends and fellow church members. Seek to show, as John Fawcett did, a loving concern for the needs of others.