September 5, 2014 | 11:09 am

Take Time to be Holy

William Longstaff (1822-1894) penned a poem after hearing a sermon on the subject of holiness. The preacher emphasized that one actually needs to take time to be holy or more spiritually evolved. While we may long to become so and pray for that with all our hearts, it is not something that just happens all of a sudden - ‘Zap! - you’re holy.’ It requires a consistency of time - thinking, meditating, reading, reflecting, and doing through the daily application of what we learn.

Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.

Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.

Sounds good! What about walking the walk of this poem? The commentary on the hymn’s second verse by Gordon MacDonald, chancellor of the Denver Seminary, resonated with me:

"Take time …" But I don't have time.
"The world rushes on …" And I am busy rushing with it.
"With Jesus alone …" Huh? And turn off my iPod and text messaging?
"Thy friends in thy conduct his likeness shall see …" Don't expect me to be that kind of example.

Longstaff’s poem was published in a Christian newspaper, and years later the composer George Stebbins set it to music.  It has been a favorite now for more than a century. We’ll sing it this Sunday, September 7th, after the sermon which is on this topic. Another old-timer, full of good old truths!