He Wouldn't Do It For Money

Scripture: Luke 18:1-14

“And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.”

The town is Port Hope, Canada. A monument is being erected not for the leading citizen who just died, but for a poor, unselfish, working man who gave most of his life and energy to help those who couldn't repay him.

Joseph Scriven was born in Dublin in 1820. In this youth Ireland had the prospect of a great citizen with high ideals and great aspirations. He was engaged to a lovely lass who had promised to share his exalted dreams. On the eve of their wedding her body was pulled from a pond into which she had accidentally fallen and drowned. Young Scriven never overcame the shock. Although a graduate of Trinity College, and ready to embark on a brilliant career, he began to wander to try to forget his sorrow. His wanderings took him to Canada where he spent the last forty-one of his sixty-six years. He became a very devout Christian. His beliefs led him to do servile labor for poor widows and sick people. He often served for no wages.

It was not known that Mr. Scriven had any poetic gifts until a short time before his death. A friend, who was sitting with him in an illness, discovered a poem that he had written to his mother in a time of sorrow, not intending that anyone else should see it.

What a Friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear,
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!

Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry,
Everything to God in prayer.

The poem was later set to music and has become a much loved gospel song. It is said to be the first song that many missionaries teach their converts. In the polls taken to determine the popularity of hymns and gospel songs, “What A Friend We Have in Jesus,” is always near the top.

Mr. Scriven will be long remembered as the man who helped others when they couldn't help themselves. Anything done for Christ must be done for others.

REFLECTION: Prayer is the most powerful force available to Christians everywhere. Any person who neglects the opportunity to commune with God and to draw on His resources will not show much growth in his faith. Reaffirm your commitment to pray more.