Saturday, June 23, 2012

What Are You Living and Dying For?

I’d Rather Have Jesus

These words and this hymn written by Rhea F. Miller was such an influence on George Beverly Shea that they actually determined the direction of his life. As Shea developed a melody for these words he dedicated his entire life and singing talent to the service of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Shea had grown up in a Christian home. His devout parents, his father was a Methodist Pastor, often encouraged him to use his voice for the service and glory of the Lord. However family financial problems caused Shea to leave college and take a job in an insurance office. While working there he had an opportunity to audition for a singing position in New York City. He passed the audition and was offered a very good salary.

God had other plans! One Sunday as he set at the family piano, he saw a poem entitled I’d Rather Have Jesus. You see his mother had begun to leave spiritual poems, songs, devotions, and quotations around the house with the desire to influence her son spiritually. Shea was so moved with the words that he began to compose a melody. He sang the poem with his melody in his father’s church that very Sunday morning.

Shea had often stated, “Over the years, I’ve not sung any more than “I’d Rather Have Jesus,” but I never tired of Mrs. Miller’s heartfelt words.” Shea allowed those words to guide his steps and he served the Lord in song around the globe.

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 land. 
I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hands

Chorus: Than to be the king of a vast domain
 or be held in sin’s dread sway, 
I’d rather have Jesus than anything 
this world affords today

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21, ESV)

What are you living for and 
what would you be willing to die for?
Gregg Metcalf has served as the Teaching Pastor of Surprise Valley Baptist Church (Cedarville, CA) and the Mirror Lake Baptist Church (Federal Way, WA.) He graduated from Shasta Bible College in 1989. He is currently contemplating planting a church in the Pacific Northwest. Gregg is married to Irene and the Lord has blessed them with four daughters and four grandchildren. Gregg invites your comments and interaction concerning his posts and this blog!


Pat Donovan said...

Amen love the story.

Kansas Bob said...

I remember hearing him sing that at a BG crusade in KC back in the 70. Such a smooth voice.

Your ending made me think of:

"A man who won't die for something is not fit to live." -Martin Luther King, Jr.

Anonymous said...

Loved reading this story - thanks Gregg.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading this~ I grew up listening to Shea's albums on our Record player. His voice was very familiar with me from the early 60's. I too love this song, and felt from an early age, "I'd rather have Jesus" and I still feel the exact same way after all these years! Nothing or no-one else in life is more important than following Jesus!!! ♥♥♥