I’d Rather Have Jesus
Thursday, January 13th, 2011
I was recently preaching at Beulah Baptist Church in Glenwood, GA and it was a bitter sweet occasion. A woman the congregation knew as “Aunt Jewel,” a few days shy of 102 years old, had just passed away that afternoon. Before the evening service it was mentioned that ‘I’d Rather Have Jesus’ was her favorite hymn. This song is a very dear song to many who remember watching Billy Graham and George Beverly Shea lead souls to Christ as a team through Billy Graham’s evangelistic Crusades.
Here are the lyrics to the song:
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.
These lyrics carry a theme Paul expresses a few times in the book of Philippians:
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain…For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.”Philippians 1:21, 23-24 [KJV]
“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ…”Philippians 3:7-8 [KJV]
Obviously, to a Christian these should either be very encouraging thoughts or very convicting thoughts. Our lives are worthless without Christ. What we value means nothing if we lose Christ by gaining them. Any friend is worth losing if we still have Christ as our dearest friend. To borrow the idea from another hymn, Jesus needs to be the entire world to us. Even more so, for a Christian, if we are comfortable losing time to worship Christ for a baseball game we don’t need to watch, we honestly need to evaluate our hearts.
To His people, Jesus is the most precious thing in our lives. This does not mean we do not need to have valuable things such as cars, decent jobs, or much needed personal time, but that we need to be prepared to surrender it all if living for Jesus asks of it.
The beauty of this song is that the point is very clear. Jesus should be our foremost desire, as Paul notes, even if living for him costs us our earthly lives.
To my brothers and sisters in Christ, why not listen to this song through the link I’ll provide below, and take some time to consider how your values may need to be adjusted in the view of our greatest treasure, Jesus Christ. For those who do not know Christ, perhaps it is time you thought about what you do value and think on whether or not it is worth not knowing Jesus.
Written by Timothy Hegerich
There is truth in our world, and it lies within the word of the One who created the world. It is my prayer that my thoughts and writings echo this truth and inspire you to seek it for your life today.
Want to Listen? I’d Rather have Jesus performed by George Beverly Shea