[forthright] Hold My Mule

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthright@...>
Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2006 16:15:13 -0600
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross


COLUMN: Fidelity

Hold My Mule
by Mike Benson

This story touches a deep cord in my heart. Read
it and see if it doesn't affect you too.

The old man couldn't carry a tune in a syrup
bucket, but he loved to sing -- even if it was
off-key. Besides, he was bad about "amening" the
preacher. Services had degenerated into an
undignified "assembly" because of the old man. He
simply got too involved in the "goings on" and
forgot himself.

Four of the more "well-to-do" members decided that
this man was too "crude" for the congregation.
They appointed themselves as the ones to go talk
to the old man.

When they arrived at the old man's house, he was
in the field plowing with his old mule. Though it
was beneath their dignity, they finally walked out
through that dusty ground which soiled their
clothes to talk to the old man. "Brother Jones,"
they began, "we want to talk to you about your
singing. Not meaning any offense, you just can't
sing. We wish you would not try to sing so loud
because it ruins our services."

"I'm sorry," he replied, "it's just that when I
look at these old clothes that I wear and then I
think of the robes that God has for me, I can't
help singing. When I see that old shack that I
live in and realize that it might fall down any
time and then I think about the beautiful palace
that God has for me, I just have to sing praises
of my Lord. You see this old hat I got on? Well,
when I see that crown in my mind that God has for
me, I just have to tell the wonderful name of
Jesus at the top of my lungs. As a matter of
fact," he said, "would one of you hold my mule? I
feel like singing." They left him singing in the
field.

As these four men left the old man in the field,
they viewed him in a different light. One said to
the rest, "You know, his singing isn't really all
that bad." Another joined in, "I never really
realized how sweet his voice really is." The third
said, "When I get to heaven, I just hope God will
allow me to sing in the same group that he sings
in!" [Gary Headrick].

Observations:

1. Like the aging farmer, singing should be our
delight (James 5:13). On occasion, I have observed
that at least some Christians sing with little or
no enthusiasm at all -- assuming that they sing at
all. Others forgo the evening assembly if they
know that it's going to be devoted primarily to
that act. In years gone by, it was not uncommon
for throngs of brethren to travel great distances
to attend a "singing." Why? Because they delighted
in lifting their hearts to the Father above.
"Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises
to our God; for it is pleasant, and praise is
beautiful" (Psalm 147:1).

2. Singing (Acts 16:25) should come naturally to
us. If Old Testament "worthies" reacted to the
blessing of Jehovah with song and praise, how much
more should we (Hebrews 13:15; 1 Peter 2:5)? "The
Lord is my strength; my heart trusted in Him and I
am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices,
and with song I will praise him" (Psalm 28:7).

3. Singing should involve not just some of our
heart, but all of our heart (Matthew 22:37).
Someone once said, "It is a great sign of
mediocrity to praise always moderately." Brethren,
all of us may not be talented in voice, but all of
us can -- and should -- sing to the Lord with our
whole being. "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all
that is within me, bless His holy name" (Psalm
103:1; cf. John 4:24; 1 Corinthians 14:15)!

Would one of you hold my mule, please? I feel like
singing!

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