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home : religion : religion October 30, 2020

9/6/2020 12:11:00 AM
Guest Column
May The Works I've Done Speak For Me
Charles R. Swindoll — 'Life is  10% what happens to you and  90% how you react to it.'

Charles R. Swindoll — 'Life is 
10% what happens to you and 
90% how you react to it.'


Rev. Susan Smith
Guest Columnist


On Labor Day we pay tribute to American workers, and this year Labor Day is bittersweet as many small businesses struggle to survive in the COVID 19 pandemic. Essential workers continue to put themselves in harm’s way as first responders, educators, food service workers, health care professionals and other fields necessary in our daily life. We thank them all for hanging in there and pray for the day that this season is over. Americans are hardworking people and in many ways our work defines us whether it is paid or volunteer.

The gospel classic “May the Works I’ve Done Speak for Me” by Sullivan Pugh is a good theme song for Labor Day. The first time I heard it was at my husband’s Michael’s funeral in 2007. He had passed away unexpectedly after a career in social work working with foster children. His work had touched many lives and after the memorial service as the coffin was coming down the aisle, I heard “May the Works I’ve Done Speak for Me”. I will never forget the moment when that beautiful song lifted me from the depth of despair to feel joy that Michael’s work would speak for him after he was gone. Thirteen years after his passing I continue to hear from people who used to be foster children and his co-workers in social work who let me know that what he did is still making a difference in their lives. 

The words of the song go like this:

“May the works I've done speak for me. May the work I've done speak for me. When I'm resting in my grave, there is nothing to be said; May the works that I've done, Speak for me.

May the life that I live speak for me. May the life I live speak for me. When the best I try to live, my mistakes He will forgive; May the life that I live speak for me.

The work that I've done, it seems so small, Sometimes, it seem like, seems like I've done nothing at all.

When I stand before my God, I want to hear Him say well done. May the works that I've done, speak for me.”



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Our work matters and is an important part of our legacy. I remember a man named James who was a long-term resident at Exodus Homes. He was a volunteer in our office who worked hard to keep things sparkling clean. He would polish the front desk until it was like a mirror. He cleaned the storm door every day to keep it spotless and taught us not to touch his masterpieces with our fingerprints. We still talk about him today and follow the example he left.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said your work speaks for you. “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

Jesus said the same in John 10:25 “……the miracles I do in my father’s name speak for me.”

Whatever you do – let the works you’ve done speak for you. To hear this beautiful song sung by the author Sullivan and his wife Iola Pugh go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuAM06lQKt4.

Rev. Smith is the Associate Pastor of Exodus Missionary Outreach Church www.exodusmissionaryoutreachchurch.org and she can be reached at 828-962-8196, revsusansmith@gmail.com or PO Box 3311, Hickory, NC 28603


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