::R1215 : page 8::
I had been sitting alone in the little chapel for some time, busy at the organ in preparation for a meeting, and was about to leave the room, when an old man who had been in the reading-room adjoining came slowly toward me, and lifting his face toward mine, said:
“I like music. Won’t you go back and play a little more for me?”
He was eighty-four years old, as he told me afterward. His body was bent under the burden of years, and as I seated myself again at the organ he came and stood beside me, fully ripe, as it seemed, for heaven. He was alive to only one great thought—Jesus, the Savior and Master!
He had been turning the leaves of the “Gospel Hymns” while my fingers ran over the key-board, and presently he laid the book before me, saying:
“Play that slowly, and I’ll try to sing it for you.”
Softly and very slowly I followed him, as with a broken voice, often scarcely audible, he tried to sing:
“Take the name of Jesus with you,
Child of sorrow and of woe;
It will joy and comfort give you;
Take it, then, where’er you go.”
It was little more than a whisper song; but as he took up the words of the chorus a glad smile spread over his face, and his voice seemed to gather strength from his heart as he looked rather than sang:
“Precious name! O, how sweet!
Hope of earth and joy of heaven.”
It was true worship: the simple, glad expression of a loving, loyal heart. Verily, I sat alone with a saint that day, for as the other verses of the hymn were sung their wondrous meaning was interpreted by the face of the singer, and the vail seemed almost to fall away, revealing to me the things unseen.
I had never seen the old man before; it is not probable I shall ever see him again in the flesh; but his life touched mine with blessing that day, for he had unconsciously brought the Master very near. God’s work in the world calls loudly for consecrated talent, vigorous minds, songful voices, physical strength, business tact, enterprise, money and time. We realize this, and perhaps, finding that we have none of these things, think that we have nothing that would be “acceptable in God’s sight.” He wants the best we have, it is true; but if the best is very, very poor, it is acceptable to the Father, who cares more for the love which prompts our service than for the service itself. There was no music in the old man’s voice; indeed, it could truthfully be said that he almost had no voice; but he drew a soul a little nearer to its Savior with what he had. God owned and blessed his weakness. “If there be first a willing mind it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.”—Selected.
— May, 1890 —