I would like to share with you today a hymn that was arranged by Daniel W. Whittle (1840-1901), who was born in Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts, on November 22, 1840. At the age of twenty-one he joined the 72nd Illinois Infantry, enlisting in Company B as a Second Lieutenant. Later he rose to the rank of Major on General Howard’s staff. He was with General Sherman on his march to the sea and was later wounded at the battle of Vicksburg. Upon his recovery and return home, he met the noted evangelist, D.L. Moody. His relationship with Moody changed the course of his life. After a rather brief time in business with the Elgin Watch Company, as their treasurer, he was persuaded by Moody to enter full-time evangelistic work. Soon he became known as one of the leading evangelists of his day.
In speaking of his hymns he once said, “I hope that I will never write a hymn that does not contain a message — there are too many hymns that are just a meaningless jingle of words; to do good a hymn must be founded on God’s word and carry the message of God’s love.” He also felt that the dignity of a gospel hymn deserved the best he could give, not only in material but in construction. He greatly admired the old church hymns and considered them a standard for all hymn writers. He composed about two hundred hymns some of which were: Christ Liveth in Me, I Know Whom I Have Believed, Moment by Moment, There Shall Be Showers of blessing and “Have You Any Room for Jesus, the one I have selected for today. I sincerely trust this old hymn will prick the strings of your heart and soul who are outside the love of God!
Have you any room for Jesus,
He who bore your load of sin?
As He knocks and asks admission,
Sinners, will you let Him in?
Room for Jesus, King of Glory!
Hasten now His Word obey;
Swing the heart’s door widely open,
Bid Him enter while you may.
Room for pleasure, room for business,
But for Christ the Crucified,
Not a place that He can enter,
In the heart for which He died?
Have you any room for Jesus,
As in grace He calls again?
O today is time accepted,
Tomorrow you may call in vain.
Room and time now give to Jesus,
Soon will pass God’s day of grace;
Soon thy heart left cold and silent,
And thy Savior’s pleading cease.
Anna Mae Pennica was born with cataracts that left her blind. But in October 1981, Dr. Thomas Pettit of the Jules Stein Eye Institute in Los Angeles removed the cataract from her left eye and for the first time she could see! However, there is a sad postscript to this surgical triumph. For you see, the technique for correcting her eye condition had been in use since the 1940’s. Thus, she could have been enjoying 40 years of sight but instead had remained blind needlessly. You’re probably asking what this story has to do with this hymn. What is a greater tragedy is to stumble through this world with blinded eyes that cannot see the Light of the world and are thus kept in spiritual darkness and lost in the impenetrable night forever! As one stanza puts it – we have room for pleasure, room for business, but for Christ the crucified, not a place that He can enter, in the heart for which He died? The Pharisees were so blinded by their slavish devotion to outward religious appearances and traditions that they couldn’t recognize the Light of the world. Their stubborn refusal to see their own sins kept them in spiritual darkness (just like today), and they rejected the Lord’s offer of forgiveness. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12).
(1) Have you let the Light of the world (Jesus Christ) into your life, or are you needlessly living in darkness? It would be my desire that if the Lord is speaking to you now or has spoken to you in the past regarding salvation that you won’t put it off, but that you would make “Room for Jesus” in your heart and soul this very hour.
The powers of darkness have blinded the race,
Closing our eyes to the glories of grace;
But faith in the Savior brings healing and sight,
Flooding our soul with His truth and His light.
When God forgives, He removes the sin and restores the soul.