Everyone knows who Billy Graham is, but do you know much about his worship leader, George Beverly Shea? An accomplished musician with a booming voice, George was by Billy’s side from 1948 until 2013.
At the age of 23, George came to a big fork in the road. He could either continue singing in small local churches and for Christian radio programs, or he could move to the “big time” in New York City. He was struggling with the decision.
The story goes that one day, he sat down at the family piano to think. On the piano was a poem written by Rhea Miller. Apparently, George immediately began to compose music to go along with that poem.
The song he wrote is the very beloved, old hymn titled, “I’d Rather Have Jesus.” That hymn directed his choice towards ministry and, ever since, it has directed thousands of believers to put the Lord first in their lives.
On Sunday, we heard that serving is good, and knowledge is good, and having a fine reputation is good…but beholding Him is better. When we behold the Lord, we make Him our priority. We put Him first in our mind and in our heart. We choose to see our earthly life through the insight provided by the Spirit.
When we properly behold Him, we declare: “I’d rather have Jesus!”
Consider some of the lyrics of that song:
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 hand.
I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause; I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause. I’d rather have Jesus than world-wide fame. I’d rather be true to His holy name.
When we sing that hymn, we are declaring that we would rather have Jesus than money, possessions, a stellar reputation, or fame for our work. We want Him first and foremost, above all else.
This week is a great opportunity to evaluate our hearts and ask ourselves, “What is our greatest treasure? What do we crave? What seems to satisfy the longings of our heart?” If ANYTHING comes to mind other than our relationship with Christ, it’s time to repent and put Him back up on the throne where He belongs.
Let’s all declare: “I would rather have Jesus!”