During my morning commute today, I took a little trip down memory lane thinking about some of my favorite hymns. I still love a lot of those old songs. Many have some awesome theology, others just remind me of my childhood. They stir such deep emotions in me.
Make no mistake; I totally adore some the more recent stuff, too. “Revelation Song”, makes me want to jump to my feet and fall on my knees all at the same time. Matt Redman’s “Ten Thousand Reasons”, makes my heart thunder in my chest. My current favorite worship song is “Grace Flows Down”. I can’t even sing it for the tears.
There is one old hymn, though, that has had more impact on me than any other song ever has. It has none of the drama or production quality of the tunes in the previous paragraph, it is a simple ditty by Ira Stamphill called, “Follow Me”.
I can’t remember the first time I heard my mother sing it, though I have memories of her singing it in the Aurora Indiana Church of Christ, before I ever started school. I tried to find a version on you tube to include as a link, but all of them were either weak or had too much chatter in the introduction. I didn’t really like any of them. I guess no one could sing it like Donna. Oh how I would love to hear her sing it one more time…. Who knows, maybe I’ll just record a version myself.
I love the song because it humbles me. I find it so easy to boast of my accomplishments or whine about my trials and the lyrics so eloquently bring me back to earth and point me to Jesus. The third verse was instrumental in my call to the mission field. To this very day, I can’t sing the first couple lines of that verse without choking up and weeping. Heck, I’m misting up just writing about it.
The day before I left for the mission field, way back when, Mamma sang it at my farewell service at Church. I cried like a baby.
I love attention. I crave the spotlight. The bigger the crowd, the more at home I am. This Gospel Song truly refocuses my priorities. It’s not about me, it’s all about Him. Life and ministry have always about the treasure, not the jars of clay.
If I could only accomplish one more thing in my life, it would be to have as many people as possible follow me to Him. Oh how he loves you and me.
I traveled down a lonely road and no one seemed to care,
The burden on my weary back had bowed me to despair,
I oft complained to Jesus how folks were treating me,
And then I heard Him say so tenderly,
“My feet were also weary upon the Calv’ry road,
The cross became so heavy I fell beneath the load,
Be faithful weary pilgrim, the morning I can see,
Just lift your cross and follow close to me.”
“I work so hard for Jesus” I often boast and say,
“I’ve sacrificed a lot of things to walk the narrow way,
I gave up fame and fortune; I’m worth a lot to thee,”
And then I heard Him gently say to me,
“I left the throne of glory and counted it but loss,
My hands were nailed in anger upon a cruel cross,
But now we’ll make the journey with your hand safe in mine,
So lift your cross and follow close to me.”
Oh Jesus if I die upon a foreign field someday
‘Twould be no more than love demands, no less could I repay,
“No greater love hath mortal man than for a friend to die,”
These are the words he gently spoke to me,
“If just a cup of water I place within your hand
Then just a cup of water is all that I demand,”
But if by death to living they can thy glory see,
I’ll take my cross and follow close to thee.