Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Take My Life

One of my favorite hymns is “Take My Life and Let It Be”. To me, it is a song of worship and committed, willful giving of myself—woeful as I may be—to God.

There are several new versions floating out there today by various artists from Chris Tomlin, Jeremy Camp and others. But are you aware of the original writing of the song? Well, hold on to your hats ladies, (if any of you actually do wear hats, that is) because this story is huger than WOW!

Frances Ridley Havergal was the daughter of a minister who was also a skillful composer of music and the writer of hymns. Frances grew to surprise those around her with her own musical talent. By the age of 7 she was writing her own verses and had become a very accomplished musician. Along with her musical giftings, were her talents in the area of languages—specifically Greek and Hebrew.

Possessing quite the captivating and delightful personality, she had opportunity for the glowing stage of the social world, but chose to instead, devote her giftings and her time to the Lord. What was the secret of her pleasing personality? She recorded in one of her journals that her formula was quite simple. She prayed for everyone around her. These were not out-loud prayers and the people that she prayed for didn’t even know that she was asking God to bless them. But they felt it. It was said that there was something special to just be in the presence of Frances—it was the love of Jesus being poured over them.

She recorded in one of her journals in December of 1873 that after an intense longing for a deeper understanding of God, she was brought to see that without a full surrender to Christ she could not have the full blessedness of a follower of Jesus Christ.

Shortly after this, in February of 1874, she found herself on a five-day vacation at a house in the company of 10 others. Some of these persons were not followers of Christ and those that were, were not happy ones. A great longing seized upon her that all of these might, before the end of her visit, come to know her Savior as joyfully as she had just come to know Him.

Frances wrote in her journal: “He gave me this prayer, ‘Lord, give me all in this house!’ And He just did. Before I left the house, everyone had a blessing. The last night of my visit I was too happy to sleep.”

Just imagine—everyone in the house was different forever because she prayed over each and every one of them!

In her inability to sleep that night, she took pen to paper and God graced her with the gift of six verses to treasure. Closing with the triumphant line "Ever, ONLY, ALL for Thee!"

Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days;
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my hands, and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice, and let me sing,
Always, only, for my King.
Take my lips, and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.

Take my silver and my gold;
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect, and use
Every power as Thou shalt choose.

Take my will, and make it Thine;
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own;
It shall be Thy royal throne.

Take my love; my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure-store.
Take myself, and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.

She made this hymn the standard for her own living. Years afterward she wrote in a letter, "I had a great time early this morning renewing the never-regretted consecration." She made giving Christ her love the object of her morning consecration each day.

Often she would give someone a card bearing the words of the hymn, and asked them to take the cards home, pray over them, and then, if they could make them their own, sign them on their knees.

What a blessed idea to remember Frances and the words to her hymn the next time you are around others who are not “rejoicers”. Pray for them and see what blessing God sends to them.

Perhaps smiles of joy will replace the frown of the heart by the time you leave them.

Perhaps a little extra joy will be gifted to you in the giving.