My daddy’s birthday would have been next Tuesday, had he lived to see it. He died almost nineteen years ago, but it still hurts like it was yesterday! I have been looking at some old books he left to me. This morning, I’d like to share with you from one of them. The book is titled, Stories of Wonderful Hymns by Kathleen Bianchard. I’m going to paraphrase her findings in her research of a hymn called: NOTHING BUT LEAVES.
This hymn was written by a young lady, Lucy Eveline Akerman . She was only twenty-four years of age when she died in 1874 in Providence, Rhode Island. Although she lived for a short time, Dr. Ira D. Sankey said she “was of great use in the Master’s service.”
Dr. Sankey, sang this song many times when travelling with Dwight L. Moody on his Evangelical tours. Especially when Moody was to speak on “The Holy Spirit.”
The hymn is based on the passage in Matthew 21:18-20, the parable of the Fig Tree. The fig tree was to bear fruit, but like the Jewish nation, it had no fruit. The Jewish nation had the leaves of a favored nation, but it was barren. It put forth leaves, and pretended to have fruit…like a hypocrite who professes to KNOW Jesus, but does all his ‘service’ without meaning…just for show.
Moody and Sankey considered this hymn the expression of a leading evangelistic truth. Here are the words:
NOTHING BUT LEAVES!
Nothing but leaves! The Spirit grieves O’er years of wasted life; O’er sins indulged while conscience slept, O’er vows and promises unkept, and reap from years of strife-nothing but leaves! Nothing but leaves!
Nothing but leaves! No gathered sheaves of life’s fair ripening grain; We sow our seeds; lo! tares and weeds-Words, idle words, for earnest deeds-then reap with toil and pain, nothing but leaves! Nothing but leaves!
Nothing but leaves! Sad memory weaves no veil to hide the past; and as we trace our weary way, and count each lost and misspent day, we sadly find at last- nothing but leaves! Nothing but leaves!-Song written by: Lucy Eveline Akerman
We all need to ask ourselves…”Will I misspend my day today, LOOKING like a good Christian, but bearing no fruit…or will I do something that will last for eternity?”
Like the old poem says:
Only one life, ’twill soon be past…
Only what’s done for Christ, will last! -unknown