“Are Ye Able?”

by: Larry Davies | Oct 9, 2011

From “Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories” by Kenneth Osbeck – “Are Ye Able”

 

Are we sometimes at fault for giving the illusion to non-Christians that becoming a follower of Christ is the end of all of life’s difficulties? Should we not tell them about the cost of lifelong discipleship?

 

“A Christian is a person who, when getting to the end of his/her rope, ties a knot and determines to hang on, realizing that human extremity now becomes God’s opportunity.” — Unknown

 

“The mission for each Christian,” according to Osbeck “is to proclaim and live the Good News of the gospel and to urge individuals everywhere to be converted – to experience a personal reconciliation and relationship with God. This persuasion must always be done with openness and honesty. We cannot conceal the cost of discipleship.”

 

We cannot conceal the cost of discipleship.

 

As a pastor, it’s tempting for me to talk about the joy of Christianity and gloss over the cost. There certainly is an indescribable joy that is a part of our walk with God.

 

But there is also a cost… sometimes a very painful cost.

 

Yet Christ never said, “Follow me and I will make you happy.” Christ did say, “Take up your cross and follow me.” Christ did say to Peter, “Follow me and I will make you a fisher of men.”

 

Jesus asked two of his disciples in Matthew 20:22: “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”

 

Over the years, what I’m learning to emphasize as a pastor is that being a Christian is not as much about happiness or pain as it is about answering the question: Why?

 

Why am I here? Why do I exist? Should my life be this hard? Should my life be this easy while others suffer?

 

Finding the answers to those questions is not supposed to be easy… but the answers give our lives meaning and purpose. When we find meaning and purpose we experience joy and pain along the way but it’s okay because we understand our true mission of serving Jesus Christ.

 

Then the question that must be asked again and again: Are you able?

 

Earl Marlatt was a professor of religion at Boston University when he wrote the words to “Are Ye Able” for a consecration service. The hymn was originally titled “Challenge.”

 

‘Are ye able,’ said the master, ‘to be crucified with me?’

‘Yea,’ the sturdy dreamers answered, ‘to the death we follow thee.’

 

Lord, we are able. Our spirits are thine.

Remold them, make us, like the divine.

Thy guiding radiance above us shall be.

A beacon to God, to love and loyalty.

 

Are ye able to remember, when a thief lifts up his eyes,

that his pardoned soul is worthy of a place in paradise?

 

Are ye able when the shadows close around you with the sod,

to believe that spirit triumphs, to commend your soul to God?

 

Are ye able? Still the Master whispers down eternity,

and heroic spirits answer, now as then in Galilee.

 

Lord, we are able. Our spirits are thine.

Remold them, make us, like the divine.

Thy guiding radiance above us shall be.

A beacon to God, to love and loyalty.

 

This was a valuable lesson for me this week, I hope it is for you as well. I pray God will always give me the strength to answer and to help others answer:

 

Lord, we are able. Our spirits are thine.

Remold them, make us, like the divine.

Thy guiding radiance above us shall be.

A beacon to God, to love and loyalty.

 


One response to ““Are Ye Able?””

  1. patricia gilliam says:

    Woke up this morning with this song in my heart. Use to sing it as a child at the church I grew up in and couldn’t remember the title. Googled the words I remembered and your site came up. Thank you! I needed the lesson also! Pat Gilliam