“OTHERS”

Wayne S. Walker

“Look not every man on his own thing, but every man also on the things of
others” (Phil. 2.4).

A hymn which exhorts us not to think only about ourselves but about
the needs of our fellow human beings is “Others” (#92 in “Hymns for
Worship Revised”). The text was written by Charles D. Meigs. It was
copyrighted in 1907. For years I have been trying to find information
about Mr. Meigs and the song, but after exhausting the resources of the
Dayton-Montgomery County Public Library and doing an extensive Internet
search, all I know is what I read in one old hymnbook. “January 1, 1908,
General Ballington Booth dispatched this one word ‘Others’ to all the
Salvation Army Posts of the world. Mr. Meigs, catching the spirit of the
message, couched it in this well-known poem.” Unfortunately, this not
does not even agree with the copyright date! I cannot give much
information about Mr. Meigs, but I can give a little about Ballington
Booth (1857-1940). He was the second son of William Booth, founder of
the Salvation Army. Ballington and his wife were sent from England to
oversee the operations of the Salvation Army in the United States, but he
later broke with his father and established his own organization, the Volunteers of America.

The tune was composed by Elizabeth McE. Shields. It was copyrighted
in 1917. I have also tried to find information about the composer, with
no success either. The copyright holder, Presbyterian Committee of
Publication, was taken over by John Knox Press, to which I wrote and
found out that it was merged with Westminster Press. No one currently at
Westminster-John Knox Press could tell me anything about Elizabeth
Shields or the hymn. It was apparently a very popular song back in the
early days of the 20th century. I have seen it in the 1926 “Premier
Hymns” edited by R. E. Magill and published by The Onward Press of
Richmond, VA; the 1938 “Cokesbury Worship Hymnal”; and the 1940
“Broadman Hymnal” edited by B. B. McKinney and published by Broadman
Press, a Baptist publishing company in Nashville, TN. No one at
Abingdon-Cokesbury or Broadman could give me any information as well.
The same text appears in some other books with a tune by William E.
M. Hackleman (1868-1927). Hackleman was a hymnwriter and music publisher
associated with churches of Christ and Christian churches in the latter
19th and early 20th centuries. This version appeared in “Wonder Hymns of
Faith” published by the Standard Publishing Company of Cincinnati, OH (I
do not have a date for it); the 1940 edition of the “Hymnal–Church of
the Brethren” (copyright 1925), published by the Brethren Publishing
House of Elgin, IL; and the 1992 “Pilgrim’s Praises” edited by Steven S.
Rodabaugh and published by Ambassador Publishers of Altamont, TN, a
Mennonite publishing company. The only other book published by anyone
associated with churches of Christ, besides “Hymns for Worship,” in which
I have seen the song is the 1977 “Special Sacred Selections” edited by
Ellis J. Crum, which uses the Shields tune.

The song helps us to see the need of thinking about people besides
only ourselves.

I. Stanza 1 emphasizes thinking of others in our daily lives
“Lord, help me live from day to day In such a self-forgetful way
That even when I kneel to pray My prayer shall be for–Others.”
A. We need the Lord’s help to live from day to day, and He has promised
that we can come boldly to His throne to find grace to help in time of
need: Heb. 4.16
B. We especially need His help to live in a self-forgetful way, because
we must learn not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to
think: Rom. 12.3
C. Therefore, even in our prayers, we should remember others: Eph.
6.18-19

II. Stanza 2 emphasizes thinking of others in our work
“Help me in all the work I do To ever be sincere and true
And know that all I’d do for you Must needs be done for–Others.”
A. The Lord certainly has a work for His people to do: Eph. 2.10
B. And in doing this work, we must be sincere and true: Phil. 1.10-11
C. But we also need to know that much of our work for the Lord involves
doing things for others: Matt. 25.31-46

III. Stanza 3 emphasizes thinking of others in our inner-most selves
“Let ‘Self’ be crucified and slain And buried deep: and all in vain
May efforts be to rise again, Unless to live for–Others.”
A. To serve Christ we must crucify ourselves: Gal. 2.20, 6.14
B. If we truly seek to take up our cross and follow Jesus, then all
efforts to resurrect self will be in vain: Matt. 16.24
C. So, rather than devoting all of our thoughts and efforts toward self,
we will strive to meet the needs of others: Matt. 20.25-28

IV. Stanza 4 (not in “Hymns for Worship”–it would be interesting to know
if Shepard and Stevens omitted it for a specific reason or if they left
it out for convenience, and if the latter I have to ask why they left out
so many stanzas of so many songs that we have sung through the years)
emphasizes thinking of others in eternity
“And when my work on earth is done And my new work in heaven’s begun,
May I forget the crown I’ve won, While thinking still of–Others.”
A. Someday our work on earth will be done because it is appointed for
people to die: Heb. 9.27
B. Then, after the Lord returns, we shall have a new work in heaven;
exactly what the work will be is not told, but the Bible says that in the
eternal city, “His servants shall serve Him”: Rev. 22.1-3
C. Yet, even as we wear that crown that we shall have won, we shall not
be characterized by a sense of pride in ourselves but shall undoubtedly
think of others: Rev. 2.10

CONCL.: The last stanza might be thought of in connection with the
concern that the departed spirits have for the lost on earth as they
await the judgment (cf. Lk. 16.27-28). However, even in eternity, we
would not think of heaven as a place of selfishness but a place where we
would be “in honor giving preference to one another” even more perfectly
that we are able to do here. The chorus continues the admonition of the
stanzas:

“Others, Lord, yes, others, Let this my motto be,
Help me to live for others, That I may live like Thee.”
Yes, we all have personal needs to attend to, both physically and
spiritually. But we must be careful never to get so wrapped up in
ourselves that we fail to give proper consideration to “Others.”

Posted in

Admin

Articles Menu

Sermons Menu

Times

Sunday Morning Bible Study
10:00am

Sunday Morning Worship
10:45am

Tuesday Evening Bible Study
6:30pm