My mother sighed as we walked out of church one Sunday morning. “Sometimes I feel like the third verse of a hymn.”
I immediately knew what she meant. Our worship leader had gotten into the habit of skipping the third verse of a hymn to save time in the service—and sometimes we missed the best part of the hymn that way. A.W. Tozer suggested that skipping the third verse is also a symptom of an impatient desire to get the worship service over with.
My mother’s statement was simple, but profound. In every church there are a few “third-verse” people. They are shy and quiet, and a little less outgoing than the rest of us, which makes it easy to forget them. They are easily skipped over, easily ignored as we hurry on to the next urgent activity. They may be elderly, handicapped or simply have less-than-sparkling personalities, and in an “instant” society, we just don’t have time for them.
That’s a shame, because we can all learn a lot from “third-verse” people. Just as many third verses have great messages, many of our quieter brethren have qualities we could all benefit from, such as meekness, gentleness and humility. Sometimes God uses the quiet person in the group to tone the rest of us down a little!
Let’s make a special effort to reach out to those quieter ones in our fellowship. By doing so, we can make the church family more loving and see the full fruit of the Spirit blossom in our midst. All together on that third verse . . . !
David E. Fessenden is a literary agent for WordWise Media Services. He has degrees in journalism and theology, and over 30 years of professional experience in writing and editing, including editorial management positions for Christian book publishers. He is the author of seven published books.
Nonfiction writing blog: www.FromConcepttoContract.com
Fiction website/online bookstore: www.SherlockHolmesBook.com
Personal website: www.DaveFessenden.com