Amazing Grace: 366 Hymn Stories

October 28

Washington Gladden, 1836–1918
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)
Go labor on: Spend and be spent, my joy to do the Father’s will;
It is the way the Master went, should not the servant tread it still?
—H. Bonar
As God’s representatives, we must make it our life’s mission to make the invisible Christ visible to lost and needy people through both word and deed. We can do this most effectively by dealing justly with others and by showing compassion and understanding to those who are less privileged than we are.
This hymn, published in 1879, comes from a period of religious history in America when there was much emphasis given to the social implications of the gospel. The Civil War had ended and the country was in the midst of a great industrial revolution. As is often true in such times, the individual is exploited in the name of economic progress.
Many of our country’s more liberal clergymen became enthusiastic champions for the cause of social justice. One of the recognized leaders of the social gospel movement was Washington Gladden, known not only for his influential pulpiteering and writing but also for his negotiations in various national labor disputes and strikes. It was always his conviction that it was the duty of the Christian Church to “elevate the masses not only spiritually and morally, but to be concerned about their social and economic welfare as well.” Although Gladden was widely known in his day for his persuasive preaching and writing, he is remembered particularly today for this one hymn text, which teaches us so well that our service for God must always be based on an intimate fellowship with Him.
O Master, let me walk with Thee in lowly paths of service free; tell me Thy secret—help me bear the strain of toil, the fret of care.
Help me the slow of heart to move by some clear, winning word of love; teach me the wayward feet to stay and guide them in the homeward way.
Teach me Thy patience! still with Thee in closer, dearer company, in work that keeps faith sweet and strong, in trust that triumphs over wrong.
In hope that sends a shining ray far down the future’s broad’ning way, in peace that only Thou canst give, with Thee, O Master, let me live.

    For Today: Amos 3:3; Matthew 25:31–46; Ephesians 4:1 Philippians 2:5–7; Titus 3:8

Actively seek to do for someone at least one good deed that you might otherwise be hesitant to attempt. Allow this musical message to help—

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