Carolyn Wood’s Devotional
January 16, 2021
MY HOPE IS BUILT (THE SOLID ROCK) – circa 1834
I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock. Matthew 7:24
“So ignorant was I that I did not know there was a God. My Sundays were spent on the streets of London in play.” Those were the words of Edward Mote, who rose from an unruly childhood to become a great writer and minister. He composed this song, and a great song it is, indeed. It has been a favorite of people around the world, bringing Hope and Comfort to many.
In his early adult years, Mote attended Tottenham Court Road Chapel where he heard sermons by the noted John Hyatt. He soon learned from Hyatt’s sermons that Jesus Christ could take away all the fears of life and give him the peace of heart and mind that he had long desired.
He became a carpenter apprentice and through hard labor and conscientious efforts came to own his own cabinet shop. One day while walking to his work, he began thinking that he should write a hymn. Before he reached his shop he had the chorus:
“On Christ the solid rock I stand; All other ground is sinking sand.”
Before the day ended, he had four stanzas. The following Sunday, he visited the home of a friend, a minister, whose wife was at the point of death. During the afternoon, they read from the scriptures and prayed with her. As the preacher looked for a hymnal to sing from, as was his custom, he could find none. Mote reached into his pocket and pulled out his verses and asked if they might be sung to her. And so they were. She seemed to enjoy them very much. Mote was so pleased that she found comfort in his verses, he had 1,000 copies printed for distribution among his friends.
Sometime later Mote became a Baptist preacher. His efforts made it possible for a house of worship to be built for his congregation. They were so grateful they offered to deed the property to him, but he replied, “I do not want the Chapel, I want only the pulpit; and when I cease to preach Christ, then turn me out of that.”
He served this congregation for more than 20 years, never missing a single Sunday for any cause.
In his 77th year, as he lay on his bed of sickness, he replied, “I think I am going to heaven. Yes, I am nearing port. The truths I have preached I am now living upon, and they will do to die upon. Ah! The precious blood, which takes away all our sins. It is this, which makes peace with God.”
What a victorious ending of a useful life. He was reared in a godless home, learned an honorable trade and gave it all up to become a preacher. His memory will remain for generations because he took time one day to write a simple gospel song.
Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock. Matthew 7:24
I would venture to say that most who are reading this devotional today grew up in the church and have memories of Bible stories told by Sunday School teachers who influenced your faith and your lives. BUT, there are some who discovered the love and kindness of Jesus through friends, neighbors, schoolmates or perhaps a spouse. May God especially bless those who took the time to invite an acquaintance or family member to share in their faith. I was shown the importance of this act as a child when my mother would routinely invite the neighborhood children to join me for Sunday School and Vacation Bible School. Most of these children did not attend church with their own families, but some of them became believers through the simple invitation offered by a friend. None of us have to be great orators or people of influence to influence at least one other life on this earth. All we need is the inclination and the will to act upon it to make a difference. Edward Mote could have let the moment pass in awkward silence as his friend searched for a hymnal to no avail. The sacred moment in which Hope and Peace were shared with his friend’s wife in her time of great need could have been gone forever, but it wasn’t, because he answered the “nudge”, pulled the papers from his pocket and humbly shared what he had.
Have you ever felt the “nudge”? Whew! I have! Oftentimes it is easy to respond to the calling or the nudge of Christ, but other times it isn’t. Sometimes it’s as though he were standing right next to me whispering, or sometimes shouting, “you know this is the right thing to do, just do it!” We are the voices and the hands of Jesus in this world and unless we allow ourselves to be used, even though our tools and talents are small, the work is not diminished. Who could have thought that a few words scribbled on a piece of paper could bring such comfort? They did and continue to do so.
I have been the grateful recipient of so many cards and letters over the years from supporting members of churches, especially Desert Spring. However, one of my favorite forms of encouragement has come in a well-timed “napkin note” received from time to time from a person gifted by God with the gift of encouragement. These notes always arrived at a time that bolstered my confidence and gave me courage to continue sharing God’s word through music. I pray that each of you will discover and USE the gifts that God has given to further his work here among us today.
God bless you! Carolyn
Words by Edward Mote Music by William B. Bradbury
The “foot-stomping” tune was composed by American gospel song composer, William Bradbury (1816-1868), a fellow Baptist, for Mote’s text in 1863 and appeared during the American Civil War in Bradbury’s Devotional Hymn and Tune Book (1864)