The Old Violin

‘Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer,
Thought it scarcely worth his while,
To waste much time on the old violin,
But he 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, now 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 grey haired man,
Came forward and picked up the bow.
Then wiping the dust from the old violin,
and tightening up all the strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet,
As sweet as an 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, and 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?” The man replied,
“The touch of the Master’s hand.”
And many a man with his life out of tune,
And battered and torn with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to a 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 the soul, and the change that’s wrought…
…By the touch of the Master’s hand.


  1. When I was only two months sober long ago, I needed help and was hospitalized at Fort Miley VA Hospital in San Francisco. I could not seem to get over the shakes, the confusion, the forgetfulness, the fear, and the guilt; but I took other patients with me to many an AA meeting in SF. And then my son Ken gave me some tapes to which I listened. At the same time, I dived into the Bible; and the healing was virtually instantaneous. One of the three tapes was this “Old Violin” and the “Touch of the Master’s Hand.” And, at a time when believing ebbs low, beautiful poems accompanied by music can make a big difference in restoring one of God’s kids to walking by the spirit.. And this one did. I truly believed that the worth of my soul and the change that was wrought was by the Touch of the Master’s Hand. And this is one of the major reasons I believe newcomers need much much more than the help of another drunk and the support of the A.A. Fellowship in their doldrums. They need simple, moving, godly messages about what God can really do for those who believe in Him and diligently seek Him. I did. And from the very first–27 years ago–the alcoholism problem was removed; and the renewed mind march continued Romans 12:1-2. Thank you Russell.

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