Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Words by Robert Robinson (1758), 4th Verse Alternate Words by Bob Kauflin

Prone to wander

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the name! I’m fixed upon it
Name of Thy redeeming love

Here I raise my Ebenezer
Hither by thy help I come
And I hope by thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home
Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wondering from the fold of God
He, to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood

Oh to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, oh take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above

Oh that day when freed from sinning
I shall see Thy lovely face
Full arrayed in blood-washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry
Bring Thy promises to pass
For I know Thy pow’r will keep me
Till I’m home with Thee at last

As I write this, in front of me sits an open Bible – it’s a Bible I used while I was in Secondary school. I got this Bible in 1988 and it is still intact except for a few pages. My daughters know that when I take hold of this Bible, some serious meditation is on the way. The first few pages (that were once completely blank) are full of quotes or sayings that have helped me, and important decisions I made during those formidable years of my life.

These pages that are full of wisdom from many dear servants of God have been such a blessing to me over the years as I have transitioned into marriage, parenthood, professional career and other new roles. However, I can’t help but feel heartbroken over one quote I wrote down in 1988 at a youth conference when late pastor Mfula spoke. He was a man, whose preaching was always an incredible blessing to me, said these words, and I wrote them down:

The sermon title was – “The Tragedy of Missing the point”. If you ever mess up in life, it’ll be because you took your eyes off of Jesus.

Twila Paris’ song written in 1982 called “Keeping My eyes on You” and appears on the album Keepin’ My Eyes On You (1982) and on the album The Early Works (1991) became my theme.

In part it goes;

I’m not looking behind me; At mistakes I’ve already made’ Hope is living inside me’ I believe that my debts are paid. Trusting You now, I know I can make it. I made a vow, I don’t want to break it

There’s no good in comparing; With my friends who are serving You, Lord, all the grace that You’re sharing’ Is enough for what I must do’ Trusting You now’ I know I can make it’ I made a vow’ And I’m not gonna break it

Lord, I’m keeping my eyes on You; Following You, following You; My Lord, I’m keeping my eyes on You; Following You; Following You, my Lord

I won’t look to the left or right; My only goal is keeping You in my sight

There are many that started well, but are no longer walking with the Lord. Prone to wander Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love. There have been times when I have walked out of the way and many have lashed me for it. To others I am reprobate headed for hell itself. Thank God who is full of grace, did not come to save the righteous, but came for worse sinners such as I. By God’s grace and protection along the way, I have kept on the path. The anchor holds, though the ship is battered, but I can’t help but wonder… Why did I falter? Why have many faltered? Will I, too, wander from that which I currently hold near and dear to my heart? God forbid.

Some may argue that a man like this who would wander from what is right and go to the “far country” as the prodigal did was never really serious about the Lord. In some cases, that may be true. However, I have seen genuine and sincere Christians who were living in victory with the Lord one day, but were sinking in the sea of sin the next. How does this happen?

Just like many once great Christians, it will be because we take our eyes off of Jesus that we drift away. Just ask Peter what happens when you take your focus away from the Lord. Even while walking on water – defying the laws of nature – Peter fell. Who are we to think we are any better?

Our hymn writer today, Robert Robinson was a wicked drunkard, even at the age of 17. One day, he and some friends attended an evangelistic meeting where they, in drunken stupors, intended to mock the preacher – George Whitefield. That day, Whitefield preached on the wrath of God, and the young Robinson never forgot it. In fact, after three years of wrestling with conviction, he placed his trust in Christ for his soul’s salvation! A couple of years later, as a preacher himself, Robinson wrote the words to what we now know as the great hymn “Come, Thou Fount.” Interestingly, Robinson included these words:

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

Robinson’s words tragically came true as he lapsed into a lifestyle of sin.  The story is told that one day Robinson was in a stagecoach when a lady near him began humming one of her favorite hymns – “Come, Thou Fount.”  The lady then turned to Robinson and asked him if he knew this hymn that had been such a blessing to her.  Robinson replied:

“Madam, I am the poor unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago, and I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I had then.”

What would cause a man who once wrote “Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it” to later say such a thing in a state of deep regret? I will argue that he took his eyes off of the One he once loved so much. Thankfully, that day was a turning point for Robert as he eventually “got back on track” for the Lord.

Friend, this world doesn’t need another Christian wipeout – this world needs us to be the light of the world, shining brightly with the love of God in a dark day. How can we point them to Christ if we won’t even practice what we preach? I challenge us all to take heed to the Lord’s challenge to the church of Ephesus, lest we, too, fall:

“Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” –Revelation 2:4-5

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