For 2016: The Touch of the Master’s Hand

The Master's Hand

By the Touch of the Master’s Hand

A few years ago, my good friend Barry presented me with a plaque, which quickly found a cherished place on a wall of my law office — a painting and a poem, signed “Author Unknown.” I later learned the poem was written and published anonymously by Myra Brooks Welch, as a gift for us all. The poem begins:

‘Twas battered and scarred, And the auctioneer thought it hardly worth his while
To waste his time on the old violin, but he held it up with a smile.

“What am I bid, good people,” he cried.“Who starts the bidding for me?”
“One dollar, one dollar, Do I hear two? Two dollars, who makes it three?
“Three dollars once, three dollars twice, going for three,”

But, No,

From the room far back a gray bearded man came forward and picked up the bow,
Then wiping the dust from the old violin and tightening up the strings,
He played a melody, pure and sweet, as sweet as the angel sings.

The music ceased and the auctioneer, with a voice that was quiet and low,
Said “What now am I bid for this old violin?” as he held it aloft with its bow.
“One thousand, one thousand? Do I hear two? Two thousand, who makes it three?”
“Three thousand once, three thousand twice, going and gone,” said he.

The audience cheered, but some of them cried,
“We just don’t understand. What changed its’ worth?”

Swift came the reply.

“The Touch of the Master’s Hand.” . . .

Jane Goodall once said, “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

Our final chapter of Wonderlust closes:

Philosopher and humanitarian Albert Schweitzer wrote the first two volumes of his Philosophy of Civilization in 1923. Upon his death in 1965,
the incomplete drafts of the final two volumes were found. Some historians attribute his failure to complete the work to his intense, life-consuming
work at his mission hospital in Africa. But a deeper examination reveals that he decided his life, rather than his writings, would be his argument —
the validation for his philosophy.There is no better guide for the stories we create to guide us through our futures:

My Life Will Be My Argument. I will be a Difference Maker.

For the 2016 New Year – and for every New Year – let us resolve:

Whatever difference we decide to make, let us craft the difference with the Touch of the Master’s Hand – for it is what we chose to do, and how we chose to do it, that becomes our lasting legacy.

Happy New Year!

Joanie and Dick Jacobs

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Well done! What could be better than to have had a great legacy to pass on. Hope you and Joanie have a Happy New Year! Best, Rob

Great thoughts to live by ! Thanks for your thoughtfulness and inspiration and best wishes for the New Year !
Ed McMullen Sr.

Right on.

Thanks, Dick


Wonderful story!
Yes, the Master’s Hand says it all…

Happy New Year!

We should all try to make a difference?


As always well said. You blogs continue to be an inspiration. Perhaps in 2016 we will all make a positive difference. Happy New Year to you and Joanie.

Thank you for your message of the masters touch. It so honors my heart how that message impacted you…. I often think about the hero’s and masters that have touched my life. The greatest influence is John Harrison. (You can hear much of his story in the book / film “Longitude”). The hundreds of hours mastering a craft, or plumbing the secret place that God calls each one of us to. So when the master gets up for the brief moment at an auction, the untold story is the thousands of hours spent alone – when no one was looking.… Read more »


I’ll take that challenge – to be a difference-maker –seriously. Let’s go.


One of my favorites. The masters hand. Awesome.

My Dear Friends: I have so enjoyed Wonderlust and the beauty and wisdom it holds. This New Year let us all Make a Difference!

I have read that poem before In fact, I think my father read it to me when I was a child. I have never forgotten it and am delighted you reminded us of it again as well as what Jane Goodall said. I wish more of us thought about the differences we will make with our actions.
Happy New Year to you.
Steve Baird

Thank you for this thoughtful blog, and lesson to live by.

Well said, Joanie and Dick! this is precisely the time of year to focus on what we choose that difference to be. Thanks for sharing.

Buddy Harrison