Amazing Grace: 366 Hymn Stories

October 8

Earl Marlatt, 1892–1976
Can you drink the cup I am going to drink? (Matthew 20:22)
A Christian is a person who, when getting to the end of his/her rope, ties a knot and determines to hang on, realizing that human extremity now becomes God’s opportunity.
The mission for each Christian is to proclaim and live the good news of the gospel and to urge individuals everywhere to be converted—to experience a personal reconciliation and relationship with God. This persuasion must always be done with openness and honesty. In our desire to have people make a decision for Christ, we must always be forthright with them. We cannot conceal the cost of discipleship involved in receiving God’s provision of salvation. And we must tell them of the importance of giving Jesus Christ His rightful place in every area of life and of becoming an active member of the believing community.
Earl Marlatt, a professor of religion at Boston University and later at Southern Methodist University, wrote this text in 1925 for a consecration service at the Boston University School of Religious Education. It was based on Christ’s pointed question to His disciples in Matthew 20:22: “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered. The hymn was originally titled “Challenge.” And still today, as in generations past, “heroic spirits answer, ‘Lord, we are able.’ ”
“Are ye able,” said the Master, “to be crucified with Me?” “Yea,” the sturdy dreamers answered, “To the death we follow Thee:”
“Are ye able” to remember, when a thief lifts up his eyes, that his pardoned soul is worthy of a place in paradise?
“Are ye able?” still the Master whispers down eternity, and heroic spirits answer now as then in Galilee:
Chorus: “Lord, we are able”—our spirits are Thine; remold them—make us like Thee, divine: Thy guiding radiance above us shall be a beacon to God, to love and loyalty.

    For Today: Ecclesiastes 12:7; Mark 10:35–40; Luke 14:27; 23:39–43; John 12:2

Are we sometimes at fault for giving the illusion to non-Christians that becoming a follower of Christ is the end of all of life’s difficulties? Should we not tell them about the cost of life-long discipleship? Seek to engage someone in conversation about the characteristics of true Christianity. Sing this truth as you go—

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