The touch of the Master’s hand

I have always been inspired by the poem “The Touch of the Master’s Hand”. It carries a great message which is worth repeating.

‘Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin,
But held it up with a smile:
“What am I bidden, good folks,” he cried,
“Who’ll start the bidding for me?”
“A dollar, a dollar”; then, “Two!” “Only two?
Two dollars, and who’ll make it three?
Three dollars, once; three dollars, twice;
Going for three—” But no,
From the room, far back, a gray-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow;
Then, wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening the loose strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet
As a caroling angel sings.
The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said, “What am I bid for the old violin?”
And he held it up with the bow.
“A thousand dollars, and who’ll make it two?
Two thousand! And who’ll make it three?
Three thousand, once, three thousand, twice,
And going, and gone!” said he.
The people cheered, but some of them cried,
“We do not quite understand
What changed its worth.” Swift came the reply:
“The touch of a master’s hand.”
And many a man with life out of tune,
And battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd,
Much like the old violin.
A “mess of pottage,” a glass of wine,
A game—and he travels on.
He’s “going” once, and “going” twice,
He’s “going” and almost “gone.”
But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul and the change that’s wrought
By the touch of the Master’s hand 

(Myra Brooks Welch, “The Touch of the Master’s Hand,” The Gospel Messenger, Brethren Press, 26 Feb. 1921.)

We all make mistakes. “if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8 in the Bible).

Sometimes we harm ourselves and seriously injure others in ways that we alone cannot repair. We break things that we alone cannot fix. It is then in our nature to feel guilt and humiliation and suffering, which we alone cannot cure. That is when the healing power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ will help. The Lord said, “Behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent.” (Doctrine and Covenants 19: 16 p. 32)

“Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.” (Hebrew 8:12 and 10: 17 in the Bible)

Ezekiel said: “If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die. “None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him.” (Ezekiel 33: 15-16 in the Bible)

The person who appears to have no friends, family, home or possessions and may be completely enslaved by the destroying addictions of the world could appear to be of little worth to anyone including themselves.

That is not how our Heavenly Father and Beloved Savior Jesus Christ feels. The Lord has said, “Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;… And how great is His joy in the soul that repenteth!” (Doctrine & Covenants 18: 10, 13 p. 29)

Dallas Jones, Local Leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Some of the article was taken from remarks by Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, May 2001. For a more detailed discussion call (231) 383-8359 or send an email to [email protected].