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   Songs for the Soul

Busy, busy, busy. That’s how I’d describe life in twenty-first century America, and that’s undoubtedly how William Longstaff would have described life in 19th century England. Mr. Longstaff, the man who wrote Take Time to Be Holy, was the son of a wealthy ship owner and a successful businessman in his own right. On top of his full work load, he had a full household demanding his attention — he went home to a wife, seven children, a sister-in-law and several servants.

Yet, inspired by a sermon based on I Peter 1:16, “Be ye holy; for I am holy,” Mr. Longstaff wrote this hymn about spending time with God. Take time, he said. Speak often. Abide. The Lord Jesus put it this way: “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” (John 15:4 NASB) So how, exactly, do we abide in Jesus? This hymn, written by so busy a man, offers several suggestions throughout its four verses. I confess to having a soft-spot for the last phrase of verse one. “Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.” 

In my own time with God one morning, I came across a benediction in Hebrews, a special blessing to seek: “Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:20-21 NASB)

Let’s not forget to take time for the great Shepherd of the sheep, so we can be equipped, pleasing servants of this one who deserves all glory.

Take time to be holy, speak oft with Thy Lord;
Abide in Him always and feed on His Word.
Make friends with God’s children, help those who are weak;
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.
William Longstaff

Seeking the Blessing

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