Saturday, August 08, 2009

Nothing Between

One of my pastors posted the words to this hymn on a Facebook note this morning and tagged me. I told him I just had to post it here. I remember folks singing this often in the church I grew up in; it was beloved then and no doubt still is in many of the old churches from my culture.

These words were penned by a man named Charles Tindley. He comes from a slavery background--one of my sources says he was born to slave parents, but Wikipedia says his father was a slave but his mother was free and that he was considered to be free. However, according to that article, he grew up among slaves. According to one of my sources, he taught himself to read and write when he was 17 and completed seminary training through correspondence. This man eventually ended up in Philadelphia and became the janitor of a church there. He continued his education while a janitor, eventually earning a doctorate. In due time, he became the pastor of that same church of which he had been janitor. Crowds of all races came to hear this humble man, I've heard, so that larger sanctuaries eventually needed to be built. It sounds to me that if I want to teach my children and grandchildren some success stories, one would be a story like his, rather than about some of the more famous personalities we often read and hear about.

One thing is for sure. Mr. Tindley did not grovel in his unfortunate circumstances, but set his heart and life on the One who could give him true success. Success in this life can only be through Christ, and he knew it. Of his many hymns, this is perhaps my favorite. There are a few others I like very much also.

As we meditate on these words, we should think about the words of Romans 12:1-2. It seems to me that this dear writer had an appreciation and longing for that truth in his own life that we are not to be conformed to this world. Amen, Mr. Tindley. May the Lord Almighty help his saints of today, severely challenged as we are, to have the same longing as this saint from a time gone by.

Nothing between my soul and my Savior,
Naught of this world’s delusive dream;
I have renounced all sinful pleasure;
Jesus is mine, there’s nothing between.

Nothing between, like worldly pleasure;
Habits of life, though harmless they seem;
Must not my heart from Him ever sever;
He is my all, there’s nothing between.

Nothing between, like pride or station;
Self or friends shall not intervene;
Though it may cost me much tribulation,
I am resolved, there’s nothing between.

Nothing between, e’en many hard trials,
Though the whole world against me convene;
Watching with prayer and much self denial,
I’ll triumph at last, there’s nothing between.

Nothing between my soul and my Savior,
So that His blessed face may be seen;
Nothing preventing the least of His favor;
Keep the way clear! Let nothing between.

~Charles A. Tindley (1851-1933)

I always remember it sung with a great deal of inflection and emotion and the tune is quite lovely. I found this video with someone playing it quite simply on the guitar. I wanted you to have an idea what it sounds like if you didn't know.


Susan said...

What an inspiring post. We have lost so much of "us" in the affluence we think we have in this world. We brought nothing into this life when we came, and we will take nothing out, except, and this is the most important thing ... those we take with us to Heaven. We truly are not of this world and we must cling to and remember that each and every day.

Linda said...

I love this hymn - the words are inspired I think. I also love the story - there are many inspiring stories behind some of these wonderful old hymns. Thank you so much for sharing this.

Denise said...

Love it and knew it by heart...Sang it years in church! I love some of the old hymns!

Have a blessed Sunday

Cathy said...

Thanks for that beautiful hymn, Maxine. I did not know it.

Susan Skitt said...

Thanks Maxine, I always read with bated breathe, knowing when I visit, I will hear something, in some way that will help me glimpse my Savior and yours.

I love when you said, "'He' did not grovel in his unfortunate circumstances, but set his heart and life on the One who could give him true success.

Oh how I need that word today.

Love the hymn. Thank you.

sparrow's song said...

I love a true survivor story. This gentleman inspires everyone to bloom where they're planted. I remember starting out cleaning bathrooms at my church and I did it gratefully as my service in Christ. Later God moved me to Children's chapel and then to singing with the praise team. As I saw the progress of God's moving me when I was faithful in the small things, so did God move this man to greater things.

a scripture that comes to mind:
1 Corinthians 1:26-29 (King James Version)

26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:

29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.

It was the Light of Christ in this man that drew so many to him. I smile to see God confirming to me what He was speaking the other day. It's not about service but about our relationship with God that draws others to us as a witness for Him. Service is just a byproduct of how deep our relationship is with God.

Matthew 5:16 (King James Version)

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Denise said...

Just coming by to say hello and hope your summer is treating you well!!!!

Susan said...

What a hymn, what a man of God!!!

Mr. Tindley what an honor it will be one day to meet you face to face!

Thanks for such a inspiring post♥