"MORE LIKE THE MASTER"
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 2.2)
INTRO.: A song which encourages us to have the same mind in us that was in Christ Jesus is "More Like the Master" (#560 in Hymns for Worship Revised, and #138 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written and the tune (Hanford or Hutchinson) was composed both by Charles Hutchinson Gabriel (1856-1932). Copyrighted in 1906, it first appeared in his 1907 compilation for the American Baptist Publication Society of Philadelphia, PA, entitled Praise and Service. When the copyright was
renewed in 1934, it was owned by Homer A. Rodeheaver.
Gabriel was the source of many well known hymns, such as "I Stand Amazed," "He Lifted Me," "Precious to Me," "I Will Not Forget Thee," "Send the Light," "Only a Step," and "That Will Be Glory For Me;" tunes for "Jesus, Rose of Sharon," "Higher Ground," "Since Jesus Came Into My Heart," and "The Way of the Cross Leads Home;" and the text for "Come to the Feast." Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, "More Like the Master" appeared in the original edition (only) of the 1971 Songs of the Church edited by Alton H. Howard. Today it may be found in the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; in addition to Hymns for Worship and Sacred Selections.
The song reminds us of the importance of trying to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.
I. Stanza 1 says that we need to be like Him in meekness
"More like the Master I would ever be, More of His meekness, more humility,
More zeal to labor, more courage to be true, More consecration for work He bids me do."
A. Jesus was meek and lowly on earth, and we need to treat others with meekness also: Matt. 11.28-30, Gal. 6.1
B. Meekness does not, however, mean weakness, because those who follow Christ’s example of meekness must also be zealous of His good works: Tit. 2.11-14
C. Thus, they will seek more consecration to be abounding in the work of the Lord: 1 Cor. 15.58
II. Stanza 2 says that we need to be like Him in stregnth
"More like the Master is my daily prayer, More strength to carry crosses I must bear,
More earnest effort to bring His kingdom in, More of His Spirit, the wanderer to win."
A. Just as Jesus had to carry His cross, we we need strength to take up our cross and follow Him: Matt. 16.24 (cf. Jn. 19.17)
B. Ellis Crum in Sacred Selections changed "to bring His kingdom in" to "His kingdom to increase," which, unfortunately, does not rhyme with "the wanderer to win." All of our other books which have the song follow this alteration. I supposed the reason for it is something like what I was always taught when growing up–if we were to say the "Lord’s prayer," we could use every phrase of it except, "Thy kingdom come," because the kingdom has already come. Of course, it is true that God’s kingdom on earth today, the church, has come, but, aside from the fact that the Lord never intended his model prayer to be recited word for word anyway but simply to be an example of how to pray, even if we did pray, "Thy kingdom come," might we not mean that we are praying for the kingdom to come to the hearts of those who are lost through the preaching of the gospel? In like manner, when we sing "To bring His kingdom in," might we not mean that we want His kingdom to come IN to the hearts of those wanderers whom we seek to win? After all, the word "kingdom" basically means "rule," and God’s kingdom or rule is in our hearts: Lk. 17.21
C. We must then use the strength that He supplies to win souls to Him: Prov. 11.30
III. Stanza 3 says that we need to be like Him in love
"More like the Master I would live and grow, More of His love to others I would show,
More self-denial, like His in Galilee; More like the Master I long to ever be."
A. Just as Jesus loved us enough to die for us, we should love others as well: 1 Jn. 3.16, 4.7 & 12
B. Our love for Christ and for others should then lead us to practice self-denial or temperance: 1 Cor. 9.24-26
C. The more like the Master that we are in these qualities, the more we become partakers of the divine nature: 2 Pet. 1.4
CONCL.: The chorus asks the Lord to do those things for us that will help us be more like Him.
"Take Thou my heart, I would be Thine alone; Take Thou my heartand make it all Thine own.
Purge me from sin, O Lord, I now implore, Wash me and keep me Thine forevemore."
God did not intend for His people to try and make it through this life on their own. He revealed His word that we might have guidance. He established the church that we might have brothers and sisters to encourage us. And He gave us the example of His Son that by following Him we might be "More Like the Master."