BRIGHTEN THE CORNER
Ina Duley Ogdon, 1877–?
Christ gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good. (Titus 2:14)
“Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do … but brighten the corner where you are!” These words were born out of frustration when the talented speaker, Mrs. Ina Ogdon, was selected to be on the Chautauqua Circuit. This would give her the opportunity to reach thousands around the country with her brilliant oratory. Just before she was to leave on the tour, her father was injured seriously in an automobile accident. Ina felt it necessary to cancel her plans so she could take care of her father.
At first Mrs. Ogdon felt much anger and resentment against God for allowing this tragedy to happen. Gradually, however, she determined that she would be happy and remain “true to the many duties near” her. She would do her best to “brighten the corner” where God had placed her. Ina completed this poem in 1913. Later it was set to its lilting music by the well-known musician, Charles Gabriel, and it became the popular theme song of the Billy Sunday-Homer Rodeheaver campaigns. Interestingly, Mrs. Ogdon no doubt ministered effectively to more people with these challenging words, born out of despair, than she would have done with her speaking tours on the Chautauqua Circuit.
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.
Just above are clouded skies that you may help to clear; let not narrow self your way debar. Tho’ into one heart alone may fall your song of cheer, brighten the corner where you are.
Here for all your talent you may surely find a need, here reflect the Bright and Morning Star. Ever from your humble hand the bread of life may feed; brighten the corner where you are.
Chorus: Brighten the corner where you are! Brighten the corner where you are! Someone far from harbor you may guide across the bar; brighten the corner where you are!
For Today: Matthew 5:16; Acts 26:20; 1 Timothy 6:16; Titus 2:7; Titus 2:14; James 2:20
Resolve that regardless of the frustrating and mundane duties you may face, you will, with God’s help, do them cheerfully as unto the Lord, seeking to bring some spark of joy and kindness into the life of another. Carry this little musical reminder with you throughout the day—