Many people are familiar with the song “I’d Rather Have Jesus”. Originally a poem composed in 1922 written by Rhea F. Miller. The tune of the song was written by George Beverly Shea after his mother left the poem on the piano in their home. The message this song portrays is quite compelling and powerful and yet I have to wonder, can this really be said of us in America? Somehow American Christians have gotten the American Dream confused with the will of God to the point that many assume religion is simply another element of the dream itself. We have our stuff, our health, our money, our insurance, our retirement, and our religion. Notice these things appeal to our security. We feel most secure when we’re healthy, wealthy, and protected. In fact religion can merely be just another insurance policy and retirement plan in the eyes of many. These things become our idols. When all is well we are grateful to God for all that he gives us and when these things are threatened then we pray harder than ever that God might restore them. God becomes nothing more than a means by which we attempt to acquire these things. It’s as if we somehow believe that God has moved history in such a way that Jesus died on the cross so that his people can live the dream, be happy, do what they want and tip their hat to him every now and then. This song is a plea to believers to realize that Jesus is far more precious than any of these things. Jesus should be our dream, our aspiration, and our desire.
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 hand.
Than to be a king of a vast domain
Or 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 world-wide fame,
I’d rather be true to His holy name.
May the words of this song echo in our heads as we drop more money in our retirement, sign our insurance policies, pay our car payments and plan for many more years of self pleasure and indulgence.
Matthew 16:24-26 “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?’”
Philippians 3:8 “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.”
God help us adjust our priorities in this life to reflect the Kingdom of God that the Gospel might be proclaimed through the lives of people willing to give up the American Dream for the sake of the the Kingdom! May our dream become the advancement of the Gospel by any and all means possible.