…Frances Havergal Wrote “Take My Life and Let it Be“
According to an article at Christianity.com, “Frances had begun reading and memorizing the Bible at the age of four (eventually memorizing The Psalms, Isaiah and most of the New Testament). At seven she wrote her first poems. Several of her mature verses became hymns. In addition to “Take My Life,” she wrote such favorites as “I Gave My Life for Thee,” “Like a River Glorious,” and “Who Is on the Lord’s Side?”
If you’re not familiar with this hymn, here are the lyrics:
- Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
*Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in endless 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 pow’r 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.
*Some hymnals insert this couplet after silver and gold.
If Frances Havergal were able to time travel and visit our boy scout troop, and having read these verses from her song, what do you think she might tell us about:
- defining our “duty to God”
- living our daily lives with reverence
- fulfilling our entire range of Scouting Ideals as a subset of how we’re called to live according to scriptures (Note: you don’t need to be “Christian” to be a boy scout, but in our troop, our families share a common faith and we often examine how boy scout ideals and our faith ideals compare.)
This has always been one of my favorite hymns to sing for several reasons —
- it has a lovely tune,
- it reminds me that I’m not nearly focused on God as I could be or should be,
- it challenges me to sacrifice my time and talents to God, even as I recognize how much I selfishly hold onto my resources for my own purposes
- it reminds me of who God really IS and that I need to change my thinking/attitude to reflect our actual relationship — I can’t just place God in a box marked “break glass in case of emergency”, and ignore Him the rest of the time.
How about you? Does the song inspire you to think about your relationship with God?
Lastly, I wanted to share Psalm 73: 25-28:
Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
For, behold, those who are far from You will perish;
You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You.
But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works.
In the first part of this psalm, the writer talks about how it could be tempting to observe the apparent prosperity of the wicked world and want to be like them (“My steps had almost slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant As I saw the prosperity of the wicked….pride is their necklace”) However, the writer recognizes that his choice is between eternity and momentary delight. Further, that those who serve themselves instead of serving God will surely meet their doom (Then I perceived their end. Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction. How they are destroyed in a moment! They are utterly swept away by sudden terrors!)
These final verses (25-28) are encouraging because they remind us that we don’t need earthly things/programs or the approval of “the world” to live our lives fully and joyfully.
On Wednesday, we expect to hear an announcement of a decision affecting the future of the scouting program. The board will choose a path to follow and lots of people will cry out regardless of that choice’s direction — we must trust God to accomplish His plans and purposes through that decision. Trust God, pray, and believe that He will act on our behalf justly and appropriately. Remember the lessons from King Asa of Judah including how he prayed:
“Lord, there is no one besides You to help in the battle between the powerful and those who have no strength; so help us, O Lord our God, for we trust in You, and in Your name have come against this multitude. O Lord, You are our God; let not man prevail against You.” (2 Chron 12:11NASB)