Old Mr. Rinso Abrams

Practical Christianity
Tim McCool
Pastor Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Church

Some of you in west Alabama may remember Mr. Rinso Abrams. He was a stalwart in the Zion community and a great sawmiller and timber man his whole life. He was blessed to build a life from the natural creation of God. Mr. Rinso loved the truth of salvation by grace alone. As a child attending church, I will never forget every time he was called on to pray. He had a high-pitched, unique voice that once you heard it – you would never forget it.

In every prayer I heard him pray, he always referred to “Lord forgive such a worm as I…” His reference to “worm” still stands out with me today. I have noticed that some of the rewriting of old hymns have taken out the words “worm” or “wretch”(Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a “wretch” like me). I have also noticed that some of the rewrites remove reference to the “blood”. That is astonishing. Those words were used by the writers because they carried impact and because they were Biblical terms.

I wonder if there would have been any impact at all in my little 7 year old mind if Mr. Rinso had said, “Lord forgive such a person as I…” I doubt it. The best I can count, there are 20 references to “worm” in the Bible. Job refers to mankind as worms (Job 25:6). Jesus on the cross referred to Himself as a worm! (Ps. 22:6). God referred to Jacob as a worm (Isa. 41:14).

God used a worm to teach Jonah a lesson (Jonah 4:7). Also, we need get comfortable with the fact that worms will be the only companions to our dead bodies after we die – while our spirits are in heaven! (Job 24:20). It sounds like Mr. Rinso was in good company in referring to himself as a worm. Job did the same thing. Jesus did too. I wish I had thanked Mr. Rinso while he was alive for using that biblical terminology and making such an impact on me personally. He was not ashamed to use Biblical language. We should not be either. We don’t need to rewrite songs and water them down. We need to see what we are – sinners saved by grace and nothing more than worms of the dust!

It takes a dose of humility to see ourselves for what we are. Only by His Spirit can we do that. And yet, when we see what we are, coupled with the gospel message of salvation in Christ alone, we also see that frail worms of the dust have been elevated to mansions on high and glory to come by the work of our Savior! Thank you Mr. Rinso for teaching me – at a very young age – about the status of man. He being dead, yet speaketh (Heb.11:4)

Elder Tim McCool is pastor of Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Church located on the Boyd Road near Echola. For inquiries email Pastor McCool at tim@timmccoollaw.com. Please join us each Sunday morning on the March to Zion Broadcast at 8 am on 102.9 FM in the Tuscaloosa area or 9am on 106.5 in the Fayette / Lamar county area.