Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Today I'm sharing another beloved hymn:

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 man'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…

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.

The History
: I'd Rather Have Jesus is a song written by Rhea F. Miller with the tune written by George Beverly Shea. This poem, written in 1922, was left on a piano in the Shea home by Bev Shea who wanted her son to find it and change the course of his life. 

The words, I'd rather have Jesus, moved George so much and spoke to him about his own aims and ambitions in life. He sat down at the piano and began singing them with a tune that seemed to fit the words. Shea's mom heard him singing it and asked him to sing it at church the next day. 

George's life direction did change. He was offered a popular music career with NBC, but a few years later chose to become associated with evangelist Billy Graham and sang this hymn around the world.

The Bible's Support: 
This hymn is about dedication and commitment. To follow after Jesus is costly. Matthew 16:24-26 says: "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?'"

I'd rather have Jesus than silver or gold...

Philippians 1:21 reminds us: "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead...

Philippians 3:8 says, “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." I’d rather have Jesus than world-wide fame, I’d rather be true to His holy name...

Praise God for the words of Rhea Miller and the caring of Bev Shea. Because of them, George followed after Jesus and we are blessed with the fruit.

(Information taken from website, All About God)

Yes, I'd rather have Jesus...

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. I have always loved this hymn, Sharon. I sang it in my head as I was reading the words this morning. I love the line "Than to be a King of a vast domain and be held in sin's dread sway..."

    I didn't know the back story. I love to read the stories behind the hymns.

  2. Hi Sharon,

    I love this hymn too, very challenging blog, thank you. btw - Kerrie is now Forever His and posting.

  3. Ahhh yes Sharon... blessings in the Name of the Lord!

    I'd rather have Jesus than...

    ohhh, such a precious, powerful witness of ALL HE is and great testimony of George's life for us and him. We can learn so much from the hymns of our faith.

    Beautifully shared to encourage and uplift!
    Thank you Sharon!
    Peace and love,

  4. this is such a pretty song, Sharon; I didn't know the story behind it; what a great story!!

    I too would rather have Jesus!


  5. I didn't know that was written by George B. Shea - gosh I loved him and Billy Graham. Loved the song too.

    I'd rather be with Jesus too.

  6. Hi Sharon -

    Thank you for this tender piece.

    Intimacy with JESUS trumps it all.

  7. Debbie - Yes, I was also intrigued by the back story. I have two wonderful books - they tell the stories behind some of our favorite hymns. And I am completely captivated by how God works His inspiration into the hearts of people. Some of the most beautiful words are brought from a place of deep pain, and some are just the joy that spills over from a saved sinner's heart. (The books are "Then Sings My Soul" Part One, and Part Two, by Robert J. Morgan)

    Nita - I love this song. I'm glad that it spoke to you. I did notice that Kerrie's blog is online again. I visited today and left a comment. I pray that God keeps her blogging - she has wonderful things to say.

    Peggy - Tell the truth, were you humming along? :) I have been singing this song in my mind for the last two days now. It's soothing me so much. We have such an awesome God. And I couldn't agree with you more - these faithful hymns have so much to teach us - I miss them in church.

    Betty - Oh yes! The world will try to offer so many other things besides Jesus. And we can be so distracted sometimes. But, I'm with you - I'd rather have Jesus. He is the only One who holds on to me through thick and thin and sin!

    Sandie - I know! I was really surprised myself. What a testimony that man had with his voice, huh? Dear Jesus - He's all our hungering spirits need.

    Sandra - So glad you enjoyed this. Indeed - to know Jesus is the greatest privilege, and the greatest gift.


  8. Sharon,

    I'm like you, I love hearing the story behind the hymns. I have those two books of which you speak and read them to dad at night before singing the hymn and praying with him.

    Precious words - my spirit just automatically sings along when my mind encounters the words 'I'd rather have Jesus'.

    Thanks for taking me there today.

    Have a lovely weekend
    patrina <")>><

  9. Patrina - I've been singing these words over and over the last few days. They are seeping into my soul - and turning into a sort of *battle cry* for me - to all the aggravations, frustrations, fears, and cares. I can feel the enemy taunting me, and tempting me to follow an easier path - to look for ways to "solve" this life myself. I'm replying with a deep-seated, heartfelt, "NO! I'd rather have Jesus..."

    Precious what you said about your dad...



"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)