It is a great thing to write a song which lives forever. To have composed such a song as the Twenty-third Psalm, “Rock of Ages,” or “Jesus, Lover of my Soul” is one of the noblest achievements possible in the world. Think what a ministry such songs have had, how many lives they have blessed, and how much sorrow they have comforted. No other human service can be more blessed than to be permitted to give to the world a sweet song, which shall go singing on its way through generations. Yet we cannot all write such songs. We are not all poets, who are gifted to weave sweet thoughts into rhythmic verse which will charm our souls. We cannot all make songs which shall become angels of peace, comfort, joy, or inspiration to weary lives. To only a few men and women in a generation is the poet’s tongue given.
But there is a way in which we may all make songs; we can make our own life a song. It does not need the poet’s gift to do this, nor does it require that we shall be taught and trained in colleges and universities. The most uneducated person may live in such a way that gentle music shall breathe forth from their life through all their days. They only need to be true and loving. Every beautiful life is a song.
There are many people living in the midst of unattractive circumstances – amid hardship, toil, and care – whose daily life breathes out gentle music which blesses others about them. They do no great services, but they crowd the hours with little ministries which fall like silver bell-notes on weary hearts. They are faithful in all their “commonplaceduties.” They are patient under all manner of irritating experiences. They keep happy and contented even in times of suffering and need, and cheerful and trusting even in poverty. They live in quiet harmony with the will of God, making no jarring discords by unsubmission or willfulness. Thus, in their humble sphere, they make music which is sweet to the ear of both God and man.
The Lord wants our life to be a song. He has written the music for us in his Word and in the duties which come to us in our places and relationships in life. To make our life beautiful music, we must be obedient and submissive. Any disobedience is the singing of a false note and yields discord; any unsubmission breaks the melody. However, obedience and joyous submission make glad music.
But alas! How much broken music there is in most of our lives! We fail in love’s duties. Envious thoughts and feelings, jealousies, bitterness, anger, resentment, selfishness, and all unloving words and acts and tempers are harsh discordances which spoil the melody.
A perfectly holylife would be a perfect song. In heaven, this ideal melody will be attainable. There, these life-harps of ours will be perfectly tuned, and we shall have learned the lessons of love so well that we shall never strike the wrong note. At the best on earth, however, our lives are imperfect in their harmonies – like instruments that are not yet in tune. If we are indeed in Christ’s school, we are always coming nearer and nearer in our renewed nature to the perfect Divine likeness; and we are learning to make sweeter music as the days go by.
We need to learn well the truth that only the Master’s hand can bring out of our souls the music which slumbers in them. A violin lies on the table, silent and still. We know that it is capable of giving out marvelous music. A weak hand picks it up and begins to draw the bow across the strings; but it only yields harsh, wailing discords. Then a master violinist comes and takes it up. First, he puts the strings in tune; and then he brings from the little instrument the most entrancing strains! Our lives are like this violin. They are capable of producing rich and beautiful melodies. But the hands which touch the chords must be skillful.
There is only One Person Who can take our lives with all their faults and sins, their broken strings and jangled chords, and bring from them the music of love and joy and peace. The story is told of how Mendelssohn once came to see the great Freiburg organ. The old caretaker of the organ, not knowing who his visitor was, refused him permission to play upon the instrument. At length, however, after much persuasion, he granted him permission to play a few notes. Mendelssohn took his seat, and soon the most wonderful music was breaking forth from the organ.
The elderly man was spell-bound. At length, he came up beside the great master and asked his name. Upon learning it, he stood humiliated and self-condemned, saying, “And I refused you permission to play upon this prized organ!” Similarly, the Lord Jesus comes to us and desires to take our life and play upon it. But sadly, too often, we try to withhold ourselves from Him and refuse His touch – even though He is the only One Who can bring from our souls heavenly music.
Come what may, our lives must be songs. We have no right to add to the world’s discords, or to sing anything except sweet strains in the ears of others. We should start no note of sadness in this world, which is already so full of sadness. Let us pray that the Lord Jesus may play upon the organ of our hearts, so that we may add something every day to the stock of the world’s happiness. If we are truly Christ’s and walk with Him, we cannot help singing! If we live according to the law of God, which is really the law of our own inner spiritual life, our lives should be sweet songs.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on this article! Feel free to leave your reflections and ask your questions below.
God bless you and your family, this day and always.
All for our King’s glory,
photo by Creative Clicks Photography | Lightstock.com
This post is another installment of Miller’s Monday Musings, a weekly series that is published every Monday on my website. The series features selected writings that have been adapted from the works of James Russell Miller (1840-1912), a much-beloved Christian author and pastor who is well-remembered for his practical thoughts on Christian home and family life. Learn more about this weekly series by clicking here.