I haven’t listened to this song in a long time. I found a current version yesterday on iTunes. The fresh, clear, bold words poured from the singers mouth like an anthem.

I listened to it again this morning as part of my devotion time and I just wept. The lyrics are simple

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 the king of a vast domain
And 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 worldwide fame;
I’d rather be true to His holy name

(these next two lines are left out from the modern interpretation I listened to this morning, but it take nothing away form the song)
He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;
He’s sweeter than honey from out the comb;

He’s all that my hungering spirit needs;
I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead

I meditated on the line “I’d rather have Jesus than world wide fame.” Rhea F. Miller could not have known in 1922 when she wrote the song, that the desire of men to be known and glorified, and  would reach new heights through social media. That desire for fame has always been in mankind’s heart, but it has become too simple to make ourselves the star of our own story instead of Jesus.

This is not meant to be a guilt trip in any way, just a reflection. We all

  • Check our Twitter too much to see who RT’s us
  • Check out FB too much to see who like, shared and commented
  • Check out our You Tube channel to see who viewed and subscribed.

But, I’d rather have Jesus than all these things. These tools are meant to glorify God, not ourselves. If it is choice between Jesus and fame I choose Jesus. Pretty easy huh?

The choice get tougher though, if it’s a choice between Jesus and being liked I still choose Jesus..

One harder still, if it is a choice between Jesus and sharing what I had for lunch in Instagram, well, that’s a choice we all have to make, every day, and much more often than we think.

In honor of George Beverly Shea passing away a few months ago, I give you his version of I’d Rather Have Jesus.

Finish this sentence, I’d Rather Have Jesus than….. Use it as a confessional tool.




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