Faith and Duty
Open Your Bible
Luke 17:1-37, Deuteronomy 10:12-13, Hebrews 3:7-11
BY Guest Writer
I’ve sung the hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” nearly every night for the past decade. It’s the lullaby I sing over my children as I put them to sleep. I’ve spent thousands of hours rocking a swaddled cherub in my arms and softly singing these words:
Come, Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy, never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
I mean it. Deep down in my gut, I swear I do. And yet, in the light of day, when life is hard, my heart doesn’t turn toward praise quite so easily. The Lord described us perfectly when He said, “They always go astray in their heart; they have not known my ways” (Hebrews 3:10). There’s no sense in trying to sugarcoat it.
The prophet Isaiah declared, “We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way” (Isaiah 53:6). It’s why Robert Robinson, writer of the hymn I mentioned above, included these words, “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love…” And why I sing them to my babes, knowing they inherited their wandering hearts from me. I’m so prone to wander toward fear, doubt, and worry, instead of trusting that God will come through. If the measure of my blessings hinged on the amount of my faith, I’d have to go without.
Faith is the only gift we have to offer the Lord. It’s what the Samaritan leper brought Jesus in Luke 17, and it was enough. “And he told him, ‘Get up and go on your way. Your faith has saved you’” (v.19). But unlike faith, the grace of God isn’t measured in mustard seeds. The “streams of mercy” we sing about are more like a tidal wave, capable of washing away our sin and guilt (Zechariah 13:1), even when our faith is frail.
Perhaps the reason I’m so comforted by the words of Come Thou Fount, is because of a story I once heard about its songwriter. As it goes, one day Robinson was riding in a stagecoach when a lady asked him his thoughts on the hymn she’d been humming. Robinson reportedly replied, “Madam, I am the poor unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago, and I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I had then.”
I’m so grateful for and encouraged by the disciples’ request of Jesus, found in Luke chapter 17. They asked, “Increase our faith!” (v.5). Their words remind me of the tender prayer of a father desperate to see Jesus heal his boy found in Mark 9:24, “I do believe; help my unbelief!”
Prone to wander. Lord, I feel it. And yet, we serve a God who is relentless in pursuit of us (Luke 15:4). Whether you have faith the size of a mountain or a speck today, you can wrap yourself up tightly and rest in this:
Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wandering from the fold of God
He, to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood
Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.