I am…the bright morning star.@Revelation 22:16
portrait
Charles H. Gabriel (1856–1932)

Ina D. Og­don, 1913. Ear­ly in her life, Og­don had hoped to preach on the Chau­tau­qua cir­cuit. However, her fa­ther’s ill­ness forced her to aban­don her plans for an evan­gel­is­tic ca­reer in or­der to care for him at home.

She wrote these en­cour­ag­ing words show­ing how one can serve the Lord in ma­ny dif­fer­ent ways and cir­cum­stances. In oth­er words, make the best of where God has put you.

Charles H. Gab­ri­el (🔊 pdf nwc).

portrait
Ina D. Ogdon (1872–1964)

One of the stor­ies of [this] song has to do with a man so far away from its au­thor that, un­der any oth­er con­di­tions, it is al­most im­pos­si­ble that their lives should have had any con­tact.

He is the head of a na­tion­al bu­si­ness. He is a big man in the world of fi­nance, not on­ly in this coun­try but in oth­ers. Un­til a year ago he was just a splen­did think­ing ma­chine. Peo­ple were afraid of him. His em­ploy­ers, even men high in his con­fi­dence, found it dif­fi­cult to talk to him. Those in sub­ord­in­ate po­si­tions trem­bled when he looked their way, for he ne­ver did so un­less he had found a flaw in their work.

He was the kind of man who has been des­cribed in fic­tion but whom you do not oft­en see—a man of ir­on and steel. So far as hav­ing emo­tion, or an un­self­ish in­ter­est in hu­man­i­ty, he might as well have been a clev­er piece of high tem­pered mech­a­nism. One of his bus­i­ness as­so­ci­ates said once that he was so un­feel­ing, so im­per­son­al, so uny­ield­ing that he seemed in­hu­man.

One night in his won­der­ful car, he hap­pened to be driv­ing past the Bil­ly Sun­day Ta­ber­na­cle. There, by the grace of God, as he de­clares, one of his tires was punc­tured. While the chauf­feur was re­pair­ing the break, he sat in his car, ob­serv­ing the thou­sands who were crowd­ing in­to the build­ing. He felt no cur­i­o­si­ty, he said. He had, for so long, trained his mind to fo­cus it­self on­ly on such mat­ters as re­lat­ed to his own bus­i­ness af­fairs, that there were ma­ny oc­cur­renc­es ev­en in his home ci­ty to which he ne­ver gave a thought.

The punc­ture was a bad one, and he grew a lit­tle bored. The thou­sands and thou­sands who kept pour­ing in­to the ta­ber­na­cle riv­et­ed his at­ten­tion, de­spite his strug­gle not to be in­ter­est­ed. He be­gan to won­der what the build­ing was, and what was go­ing on in­side. Then his chauf­feur re­port­ed that he would have to put on an emer­gen­cy tire.

The chauf­feur fin­ished his work, and looked in­side the car for his em­ploy­er, but he was not there.

A boy who was stand­ing near told him that the oth­er had gone in­to the ta­ber­na­cle. The chauf­feur was so sur­prised that he near­ly faint­ed, for he had ne­ver known his em­ploy­er to at­tend any meet­ing but a Board meet­ing of fi­nan­ciers.

Among those who hit the trail that night was the man of ir­on and steel. He sat down in his turn to wait for us to write down his name, his ad­dress, and his church pref­er­enc­es, as we al­ways do, and to one of the work­ers who ap­proached him for that pur­pose he gave some­thing of his re­mark­a­ble sto­ry.

Some con­verts seemed dazed by the ex­per­i­ence through which they have just gone, and some are so hap­py that they can­not help cry­ing, but the man of steel was sim­ply more ef­fi­cient, more com­posed, and more keen than usu­al. He had al­rea­dy an­al­yzed his own change of heart, and want­ed to tell about it.

I don’t sup­pose a man like you can real­ize how I could have be­come so cold and in­dif­fer­ent to ev­ery­one, and ev­ery­thing in the world as I have be­come, he said. “I be­gan my bus­i­ness life when I was a ve­ry young man. All I thought about was mon­ey. I saw that ma­ny men failed to get mon­ey be­cause they stopped for oth­er things, and I de­ter­mined that I would so train my mind that it would not rec­og­nize the ex­is­tence of an­y­thing else but mon­ey. I suc­ceed­ed. I taught my­self to look on those around me as so ma­ny sha­dows out of which I could ex­tract what I want­ed.

“I have not mar­ried, and so fam­i­ly life did not have an op­por­tun­i­ty to soft­en me. I don’t think I ev­er loved a per­son in my life, cer­tain­ly not since I was a man. I have ne­ver given a thought to friend­ship in my life, I ne­ver read books that dealt with sen­ti­ment, I ne­ver read an­y­thing in the news­pa­pers but the fi­nan­cial re­ports, I care no­thing for mu­sic or the arts.

When I came here to­night I did not ev­en know what was go­ing on. I had to wait out­side while my chauf­feur put on a new tire, and I was bored. I lis­tened, to­night, for the first time, to men talk­ing about the things I have al­ways re­fused to con­si­der—God and Hu­man­i­ty. Then came that song, ‘Bright­en the Cor­ner,’ and in its sim­ple mel­o­dy and mes­sage I heard some­thing that fin­ished my de­ci­sion. I’m go­ing to be­gin the job of bright­en­ing the cor­ner on bus­i­ness lines!

The de­gree and ex­tent to which he kept his word is com­mon talk in his home ci­ty and state. He is a man now to whom his as­so­ci­ates go for help when they are in tight plac­es. He has giv­en roy­al­ly to ev­ery hu­man­i­tar­i­an cause which has come to his no­tice. He is a pow­er, now, in that church of which he was mere­ly a nom­in­al mem­ber for so ma­ny years. And in his of­fice, among his as­so­ci­ates and his em­ploy­ees, he is the friend, the ad­vis­er, the sym­pa­the­tic, ev­er rea­dy lis­ten­er, who is all but adored by those who know him.

Rodeheaver, pp. 7–11

Do not wait until some deed
Of greatness you may do,
Do not wait to shed your light afar,
To the many duties
Ever near you now be true,
Brighten the corner where you are.

Refrain

Brighten the corner where you are!
Brighten the corner where you are!
Someone far from harbor
You may guide across the bar;
Brighten the corner where you are!

Just above are clouded skies
That you may help to clear,
Let not narrow self your way debar;
Though into one heart alone
May fall your song of cheer,
Brighten the corner where you are.

Refrain

Here for all your talent you
may surely find a need,
Here reflect the bright and Morning Star;
Even from your humble hand
The Bread of Life may feed,
Brighten the corner where you are.

Refrain