I know I just posted about music on Tuesday so this must be music week. When I attended theWrite to Publish Conference a few weeks ago (love Christian writing conferences for the atmosphere and the worship) we sang the classic “I’d Rather have Jesus.”
I hadn’t sung that song for ages.
I’d Rather have Jesus started out as a poem written by Rhea Miller in 1922. Ten years later a 23-year-old musician named George Beverly Shea sat at his mother’s piano. He noticed the poem lying by the piano and the words touched his heart.
Shea immediately write music to accompany the words. It is said the first time he sang it, his mother came out from the kitchen with tears in her eyes. She encouraged him to sing the new song in church the following Sunday.
A few years later, George joined together with another young man – Evangelist Billy Graham and this became one of his favorite songs. Shea just died this past April living to the age of 104. He sang into his 90s and received many, many honors and awards. But you know I think no matter what happened to him, even all the good stuff in life, he always came back to this line to ground him: I’d rather have Jesus.
I’d Rather Have Jesus – The Lyrics
I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands,
I’d rather be led by His nail pierced hand.
Than to be a king of a vast domain
Or be held in sin’s dread sway,
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.
I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause;
I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I’d rather have Jesus than world-wide fame,
I’d rather be true to His holy name.
He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;
He’s sweeter than honey from out of the comb;
He’s all that my hungering spirit needs,
I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead.
I’d Rather Have Jesus led Shea throughout his life. What a mission statement for all of us to follow too. Living each day with Jesus, rather than silver or gold or the applause of others. I know I’d rather have Jesus.
How about you?