In this time of year many churches are emphasizing the theme of stewardship in preparation of their annual budgets. Unsurprisingly, this is generally considered to be about money, but sometimes there will be discussion about other gifts we can bring to our communities and to the wider world. This hymn reminds us of the smallest kinds of things that we can do every day in the stewardship of our spiritual mission.
Scorn not the slightest word or deed,
Nor deem it void of power;
There’s fruit in each wind-wafted seed
That waits its natal hour.
A whispered word may touch the heart,
And call it back to life:
A look of love bid fear depart,
And still discordant strife.
No act falls fruitless; none can tell
How vast its power may be,
Nor what results infolded dwell
Within it silently.
Work on, despair not, bring your mite,
Nor care how small it be;
God is with all that serve the right:
The holy, true, and free.
Anonymous, 1845; alt.
Tune: TALLIS' ORDINAL (C.M.)
Thomas Tallis, 1567
The 'mite' in the last stanza refers to the widow's mite, or offering, in Mark 12:41-44; Generations of Sunday School children filled mite-boxes with small coins each year (and probably still do).
The language of this text is perhaps a bit more formal than necessary, but I still think there's some value in an older text like this, unknown though it may be..