I’d Rather Have Jesus

One of my favorite hymns is I’d Rather Have Jesus.

Someone had placed the poem by Rhea Miller on the top of an organ. Seated at the organ was 23-year-old George Beverly Shea. The words had such meaning for him, that he set them to music. He sang the words and his mother came in to the room with tears in her eyes. She encouraged him to sing the words in church that week. And in the following years, George Beverly Shea joined Billy Graham and traveled the world singing, I’d Rather Have Jesus.

I had the opportunity to hear George Beverly Shea sing this beautiful hymn at a Billy Graham Crusade in San Diego, California, a number of years ago. And when he got up to sing, as I heard him begin those incredible words, tears came to my eyes as well. They express my heart.

Really. I think of the words of the psalmist when he says,

For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside. I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
Psalm 84:10

Asaph, another psalmist, said “Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth” (Psalm 73:25).

David said, “I love You, O LORD, my strength” (Psalm 18:1).

And Paul said, “I count all things as loss in view of the priceless privilege of knowing Christ” (Philippians 3:8).

Again and again, the refrain is the same, I’d rather have Jesus.

George Beverly Shea, at the age of 104, went to be with the Lord this past Tuesday, April 16, 2013. Oh how the Lord used him in his days while on earth. And now, he is face to face, and he truly knows the value of the words he sang for so many years. He can say with great enthusiasm and joy, “Yes, I’d rather have Jesus.”

Today, as you go about your day, set aside the many things for the one thing. And sing those great words, I’d Rather Have Jesus by Rhea Miller, and remember the voice of a faithful George Beverly Shea.

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

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

♥ Blessings and Grace to You!


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  • Title: Silver And Gold
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  • Date Created: 04/21/13
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Luke 5:16 NASB — But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.

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