I’d Rather Have Jesus

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This post is for my fellow Christians — those who love the Lord and are sincerely trying to follow Him and live their lives in accordance with God’s will.

I’ve always been emotionally moved by music.

I still choke up every time I hear the hauntingly beautiful sounds of the opening theme to the movie, On Golden Pond. With its tinkling piano, swelling strings, slightly off-pitch woodwind, and the mournful cries of calling loons, it’s one of the most exquisitely crafted, moving musical pieces I’ve ever heard.

Yet, as a singer/songwriter, it’s the lyrics of songs that have always been the most important part to me.

In fact, the main reason that I play the guitar and sing catchy melodies and choruses is to get people to listen to the words of my songs.

And repeat them.

And remember them.

Because the words are where my message is.

The other day, in church, I played and sang a song that wasn’t one of my own.

It wasn’t even a contemporary song — it was written in 1932.

But I chose to play and sing it because its message is still just as important and relevant as it was 82 years ago — maybe even more so.

To me, its lyrics beg a question that’s been asked ever since the apostle Judas betrayed Christ, in exchange for 30 pieces of silver:

“What would you be willing to trade Jesus for?”

If I were to ask you that question, you’d probably say, without hesitation, “I wouldn’t trade Jesus for anything.”

We all know that’s “the correct answer” to the question, because we all know that our relationship with Jesus is supposed to be the most important relationship in our lives.

But — if you really think about it — is “I wouldn’t trade Jesus for anything” a truthful answer?

When you get right down to it, it’s easy to say, “I wouldn’t trade Jesus for a million dollars,” because we all know that no one’s going to make you prove it, by offering you a million dollars to renounce your faith.

But the truth is that many people are willing to trade Jesus for a whole lot less than a million dollars.

Maybe you are, too.

Are you willing to trade Jesus for another hit of drugs?

Are you willing to trade Jesus for another drink of alcohol?

Maybe those are easy questions for you, because you don’t have a problem with either of those things.

So let’s continue:

Are you willing to trade Jesus for another piece of carrot cake?

Ouch — some of you felt that one. So did I.

Are you willing to trade Jesus for a meaningless, sinful sexual encounter — whether in the flesh or just in your mind?

Are you sure you want to keep reading?

Are you willing to trade Jesus for a bigger tax refund?

This little game isn’t as much fun any more, is it?

Are you willing to trade Jesus in order to win an argument?

Are you willing to trade Jesus for the right to gossip about people you know?

Are you willing to trade Jesus for the right to be angry at someone who offended you in traffic?

Are you willing to trade Jesus for an extra sick day home from work?

Are you willing to trade Jesus for a few extra dollars on the used car that you’re selling?

Are you willing to trade Jesus for the right to hold on to unforgiveness against someone who you used to love, who did something to hurt you?

Are you willing to trade Jesus to be popular with a group of friends who will never know that you’re a Christian?

I don’t know how you answered any of those questions.

But I hope that you answered them truthfully — and maybe even thought of some other questions of your own.

And if there’s anything in your life that’s more important to you than Jesus, I hope and pray that you’ll ask God to forgive you and give you the strength and wisdom to make your relationship with Jesus the most important relationship in your life.

Because it’s easy to say that you love Jesus.

And it’s easy to sing songs about loving Jesus.

But sometimes, it’s not so easy to actually live the words that you say and sing.

And 100 years from now, your relationship with Jesus will be the only relationship that will matter to your eternal soul.

In fact, right now, your relationship with Jesus is the only relationship that matters to your eternal soul.

So be careful not to trade it for anything.

Please think about that while you listen to Michael English, singing the same song that I sang at church this past Sunday: I’d Rather Have Jesus.

I’D RATHER HAVE JESUS
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 hands.

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.

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.

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1 Response to I’d Rather Have Jesus

  1. LuAnne Grant says:

    Great food for thought! It takes one’s “decision for Christ” to each moment by moment decision we make. It requires a constant mindfulness of our commitment to follow Jesus in all things at all times. It requires that we have such a close, abiding relationship with our Lord that we are in communion with Him in every thought, motive and action, and that we fully surrender our “right” to ourselves to Him: A worthy challenge indeed!

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