Skip to main content

Have I Done My Best?

The date was September 8, 1860. Edward Spencer, a sophomore at Northwestern University at Evanston, Illinois, thought it would be a normal day. Like himself, several students got up for an early walk along Chicago’s Lake Michigan beach. As they were walking, they saw that some debris had washed up on the shore. Some of that debris was human. What they didn’t know is that around 2:30 in the morning, a storm had brewed on Lake Michigan and the Lady Elgin, carrying soldiers, collided with another ship. Life boats were deployed, but there was not enough. As the ship sank people looked for anything to float on. It was one of the worst marine disasters ever in North American history. Over 400 people lost their lives and that morning still hundreds more were floating on debris, trying to make it to shore.

Without a moment's hesitation, Edward rid himself of any extra clothing that might hinder him and be dived in the rolling, chopping waves. He was able to reach the wreck and, fighting his way back, he brought the first person to safety. He had repeated this heroic effort several more times when those on shore said, "Ed, you've done all you can. You'll surely kill yourself if you try it anymore." Ed's reply was, "I've got to go my best." He plunged again and brought another one to safety, and another and another until he had rescued 17 people. He could go no further and fell unconscious on shore. All through the night, as he lay in the infirmary, he kept repeating, "Have I done my best, fellows? Fellows, have I done my best?" He had done his best but the experience cost him his health, because, you see, from that moment on, Edward had to use a walker or a wheelchair just to get around.

Years later, inspired by the story, Ensign Edwin Young wrote the song, 'Have I Done My Best For Jesus?'

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


Popular posts from this blog

The Tornado at Beaty Swamps

Shortly after midnight on Wednesday, May 10, 1933, Beatty Swamps, TN ( also known as Bethsaida), a small rural community located in Overton County, Tennessee, approximately 6.7 miles from Livingston, was struck by an F4 tornado that completely devastated the community. The funnel, anywhere from one-half to three-quarters of a mile wide, destroyed every home in the community, and killed or injured virtually every single resident. Much of the area was swept clean of debris. This is the second deadliest tornado ever to strike Middle Tennessee.

There have been tornadoes that have gained greater notoriety, such as the Super Outbreak of April 3, 1974, but never has a tornado affected a community as completely as the one that struck Beatty Swamps.

According to the National Weather Service, it had been a humid evening in the rural Cumberland Plateau community. In nearby Allardt, the temperature that Tuesday afternoon had climaxed at 82 degrees, a warmer-than-normal reading for early May. …

Ode To A Mule

James Arness died today. Gunsmoke was every one's favorite TV show back when I was a kid. For years, at my house, we watched every single episode that came on the TV. There's isn't any need to explain the show because I am sure that most of you have seen an episode of Gunsmoke at one time or another.

When I heard that Mr. Arness has passed away, I went online, because I wanted to read some quotes from the TV show - more specifically, I wanted to read some dialogue between Festus, played by singer Ken Curtis (Sons of the Pioneers), and the rest of the cast. Festus had a way of speaking, but he always spoke the truth and what he said always made sense, well in a Festus-sort-of way, I guess.

So, I went online to do that, and well, one click led to another click, and then another and another, and before I knew it, I found myself on YouTube, and that's when I heard, for the first time in many years, this beautiful story that I want to share with you.

If you paid close atte…

Long Live The Goat Man

(This photo was made in the 1950's as the Goat Man passed through my town)
Charles McCartney was born on July 6, 1901. In 1915, at age 14, he ran away from his family's Iowa farm. He eventually wound up in New York, and was soon married to a Spanish knife-thrower. When she got pregnant they tried to make it as farmers, but bad weather and the Great Depression wiped them out. About the same time, he experienced a religious awakening. A man on a mission, he hitched up his team of goats to a wagon and took to the open road with his wife and son. His wife made goatskin clothes for him and his son to wear as a gimmick during their travels, but she quickly grew tired of the road and returned to Iowa, taking their son with her.

Charles McCartney looked like a goat. He smelled like one, too because he rarely took a bath. You take a fellow who looks like a goat, travels around with goats, eats with goats, lies down among goats and smells like a goat and it won't be long before peop…