Friday, December 30, 2011

Fanny Crosby: She Fixed her Eyes on Christ

Tonight I watched a documentary about Fanny Crosby--if you have Netflix, you can search for her name and you'll find it. I was so touched to hear that the Lord allowed her develop the gift of poetry early in her life, but that she did not start writing hymns until much later. By his grace and power and inspiration, it is estimated that she wrote more than 10,000 hymns and what's so amazing about this is the few years in which she did so. There were some days on which she wrote 3-5 hymns! All in all, she averaged about 200 per year, which is truly astonishing.

Perhaps just as touching to me was the fact that she gave away nearly all of the money she earned over the years from publishing royalties. For example, one of the hymnals which was almost completely comprised of her music sold over 15 million copies world wide. Think about that. It was the 1800s, there were far less people on the planet, there was no internet, no television, no radio--no mass media except for print media. And yet, 15 million copies sold. Her royalties on this resource alone would have been astronomical.

She died with $2,000 to her name which means that she gave away millions in her lifetime because she believed that the wealth she earned did not belong to her. Her eyes, blind though they may have been, were firmly fixed on Christ.

Praise God for Fanny Crosby! And I mean it just that way. Fanny's abilities and productivity and prosperity and generosity and popularity and longevity are gifts from God to the church for the manifestation of the Spirit and the common good (1 Corinthians 12:7), and therefore he alone deserves all the glory. But may we pay close attention, not only to the gifts, but to the character he developed and displayed in this woman, and may we emulate what we see.

On her original grave stone was this very simple epithet: "She hath done what she could." I don't think that means, "Well, she gave it all she had but it wasn't much!" Rather, I think that means that she made the most of the gifts God gave to her. May we likewise fan our gifts into full flame for the glory of God and the edification of the church!

Thank you, Father, for your precious daughter, Fanny.

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