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GOD & TEXAS: Doing my best?

Do you remember the SMILE song?

Someone is needing a smile from you,

Someone whose clouds overwhelm the blue;

And perhaps a little smile or two,

Would help him along, just a smile from you.

The composer, E. Edwin Young, served as Dean of the School of Music at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, from 1934-1956. Born in Unadilla, Nebraska, in 1895, Ensign Edwin Young immigrated to Texas where his musical gifts flourished. He passed away July 22, 1980, and was buried in Elmwood Memorial Park, Abilene.

Young and his wife Gladys Irene, were both accomplished pianists, and the proud parents of two children, Patricia and David. Together with British Evangelist Rodney “Gipsy” Smith, Edwin and Gladys traveled the world leading the music at revival meetings while introducing their original music.

Edwin composed 27 songs that were printed in over 43 publications. Besides the humorous SMILE song, Edwin composed such theologically sound hymns as Count the Cost, He Will Keep His Own, and Holy Spirit From Above. And there was another song brewing in his spirit that still challenges Christians to this day!

In 1924, Young heard a preacher tell a true story of an act of bravery. Edward Spencer was a young Bible college student at a seminary on the shores of Lake Michigan in Evanston, Illinois. On the stormy morning of September 8, 1860, Ed heard that two ships had collided near shore. He ran to the beach and saw scores of people drowning.

Without hesitation, Ed jumped into the churning waters and began rescuing as many victims as he could. People on shore cautioned Ed that he should stop because he was already injured and exhausted. But Ed responded, “I must do my best to save as many as possible.” Ed eventually saved 17 people in 16 attempts, and finally collapsed on the beach. When people gathered around, Ed kept asking, “Have I done my best?”

Young wondered what ever happened to Spencer, and eventually found him living as an invalid in a modest house in Phoenix, Arizona. The injuries sustained on that day of rescue caused Ed to have life-long health issues. But knowing that he did his best sustains him.

Using the words of Ed Spencer as he rescued the dying, Young wrote the stirring song, “Have I Done My Best for Jesus?” The first verse and chorus state:

I wonder, have I done my best for Jesus,

Who died upon the cruel tree?

To think of His great sacrifice at Calv’ry!

I know my Lord expects the best from me.


How many are the lost that I have lifted?

How many are the chained I’ve helped to free?

I wonder, have I done my best for Jesus,

When He has done so much for me?

Have you done your best for Jesus? “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.” (Proverbs 11:30 NKJV)


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