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Oh, To Be Like Thee

“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master...” (Matthew 10:24-24, NKJV).

A lot is going on with the facilities these days. The corner room downstairs is filled with various “stuff” from the shed, other classrooms, etc. There are a number of books in boxes; I keep picking a few up now and then. Just what I need, more books I won’t read.

Last week, I noticed a biography of Batsell Barrett Baxter on top of the pile, and I could not resist. It is very detailed, and as I paged through it, I was amazed at all that good man did in service of the Lord. I was unaware, but he did a lot of work on the New King James version of the Bible—no wonder I like that translation!

In the biography, I learned that one of his favorite songs was “Oh, To Be Like Thee” by Thomas Chisholm in 1897. Baxter requested it to be sung at his funeral.

1. Oh! to be like Thee, blessed Redeemer, This is my constant

longing and prayer; Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures, Jesus,

Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh! to be like Thee, oh! to be like Thee, Blessed Redeemer,

pure as Thou art; Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;

Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

2. Oh! to be like Thee, full of compassion,

Loving, forgiving, tender and kind; Helping

the helpless, cheering the fainting, Seeking

the wand’ring sinner to find.

3. Oh! to be like Thee, lowly in spirit, Holy

and harmless, patient and brave; Meekly

enduring cruel reproaches, Willing to suffer,

others to save.

I must admit, it is a favorite of mine as well. It is somewhat out of style now, using “Thee” and

“Thine.” Then, some of the original verses also have a Pentecostal flavor. Nevertheless, the

song captures the yearning of one who longs to be like their teacher and master. Who wants

Jesus to imprint His image on their heart. This is the aim of every child of God: to have

transformed hearts and lives that are truly worthy of the blessed name of Christian. The

song gives voice to this inner desire and hope that we all share.

His marvelous incarnated life commands our admiration and our imitation. No one ever

spoke or taught as He did. His holy ambition was to save sinners, to do His Father’s will. He

invited all to come to Him and welcomed any that answered the call. His teaching is

the greatest ever heard; it is always fresh, elevating, lifting us from depravity to new

heights. He imparts hope that circumstances cannot take away and peace that hardships

cannot destroy.

The love Jesus showed commands our imitation. The charge levied against Him by His enemies rings out as a beautiful commendation: This Man receives sinners. He

showed concern for a Samaritan woman who was all but forgotten by the world. He cared

for a woman caught in adultery who was being used by the men who were supposed to

be Israel’s shepherds.

The cross is the ultimate expression of His love. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than

this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends (John 15:13, NKJV). And then He went to the

cross and showed that love, and in His life and words, we see that He desired that every

person would be His friend.

How is your transformation going? May God bless each of us and make us more like our

Master today than we were yesterday.

—John Ostic

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