Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hymn of the Month -- Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing with lyrics

Robert Robinson penned the words to this hymn 250 years ago.  He was born in Norfolk, England in 1735, to poor parents. His father died when he was eight, and his mother sent him to London at 14 to be apprenticed to a barber.  There he joined a street gang and got involved in drinking and gambling.  He and some members of his gang once plied a fortune teller with enough alcohol to get her to tell their fortunes for free.  She pointed at Robinson and told him that he would live to see his children and grandchildren.  Her words startled him and made him think about living a better life.

When he was 17 he gathered a group of hoodlums and went to an evangelistic meeting where George Whitfield was preaching.  Their plan was to heckle the preacher and interfere with the meeting, but Whitfield's words pierced his heart and set in motion a battle in his soul that would last three years.  When he finally surrendered his life to Christ he found forgiveness and peace.

He joined the Methodists and John Wesley later appointed him to the Calvinist Methodist Church in Norfolk as pastor.  It was while there that he composed this song for Pentecost Sunday in 1758.

There are lots of teenagers today whose stories are similar to Robinson's.  Living in a single parent home, barely scraping by financially (or maybe not), hanging out with other kids whose backgrounds are the same, getting into trouble.  They are on the streets of every community.  We see them, shake our heads, and comment on their sense of hopelessness.  Too bad, we say, as we drive past them.

But that's not how God sees them.

He who has known them from before they were even born (Psalm 139, Jeremiah 1:5), has His eye on each young person who struggles, whose home life is difficult, who hangs out on the streets, who seem so hopeless.  And He loves them and is intent on drawing them to Himself, just as He did Robert Robinson.  He knows their hearts, and He knows how to reach them.

What does He require of us?  He wants us to love them too.  He wants us to pray for them.  He wants us to open our hearts to them, to smile at them, to listen to them, to help them as we can.  He wants us to see them with His eyes.  He is as anxious to set people free from their hopelessness today as He has ever been.  And He is just as able.

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