Daily Devotions are published Tuesday-Saturday during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
… for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.
In 1975, I was studying church music at Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. My music composition class that year was taught by my ministry mentor, Dr. Phillip Landgrave. One of the class projects we were assigned was to develop a tune and score to a poem written by Grace Noll Crowell (1877 – 1969) entitled “Because of Thy Great Bounty.”
Early in Crowell’s life she had known intense suffering. She became ill in 1906 and in spite of receiving the best medical care available at the time, she remained an invalid for the next eleven years. Not wanting to be a burden to her family, she redoubled her commitment to writing inspirational verse, prose, and children’s books. Her long confinement in hospitals and the suffering she experienced from her illness motivated her to write words that might offer hope, patience, and faith to people who suffered as she did. The poem was written in 1936 after she had recovered from her debilitating illness, and it was set to music in our class and entitled “Because I Have Been Given Much.” Dr. Landgrave chose the name “Seminary” for the tune and score, since it was our seminary class that helped write it.
At this time of suffering and uncertainty in our world, the words of our Lord, and this great woman, should challenge all of us to consider the great bounty which our Lord has given us, and do what we can to share and help meet the needs of others.
Because I have been given much,
I, too, must give;
Because of Thy great bounty, Lord,
Each day I live
I shall divide my gifts from Thee
With every brother that I see
Who has the need of help from me.
Because I have been sheltered, fed,
By Thy good care,
I cannot see another’s lack
And I not share
My glowing fire, my loaf of bread,
My roof’s shelter overhead,
That he, too, may be comforted.
Because love has been lavished so
Upon me, Lord,
A wealth I know that was not meant
For me to hoard,
I shall give love to those in need,
I’ll show that love by word and deed,
Thus shall my thanks, be thanks, in deed.
Heavenly Father, open our eyes, our ears, our hearts, and our hands to provide for those in need in our world. Help us to find the courage to sacrifice a portion of our blessings, and to do so with a grateful heart. Take us from our places of comfort and safety to share with others, protecting us as we go with faith and trust in Your divine will. Amen.