Posted by: rcottrill | November 23, 2011

We Give Thee But Thine Own

Words: William Walsham How (b. Dec. 13, 1823; d. Aug. 10, 1897)
Music: Schumann, by Lowell Mason (b. Jan. 8, 1792; Aug. 11, 1872)

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: The tune is sometimes attributed to Lowell Mason, since it first appeared in a book published by him and George Webb. It is named Schumann as German composer Robert Schumann was thought to have written it. However, there is no real evidence that he did.

The people of Israel had given freely to the project of building a temple in Jerusalem (I Chron. 29:9). Though it was to be David’s son Solomon who would direct the construction, David, in his last years, gathered the materials needed. Afterward, he offered a prayer of praise and thanksgiving for the blessings of God (vs. 10-19).

In the latter verses, it is emphasized several times that we give what the Lord has equipped and prepared us to give. All that we have comes from Him, and we are stewards of it. In our offerings, we present to Him, for use in His service, what belongs to Him.

“All that is in heaven and it earth is Yours….Both riches and honour come from You….All comes from You, and of Your own have we given You….All this abundance…is from Your hand, and is all Your own” (vs. 11, 12, 14, 16).

It is the statement in vs. 14, “of Your own have we given You,” that gave How the opening line of his hymn. However, the author put Proverbs19:17 above the text: “He who has pity on the poor lends to the LORD, and He will pay back what he has given,” which looks at giving from another angle. When we give to the Lord, He will most certainly bless us.

This is a fine stewardship hymn. Since the Lord has been so gracious to us, we ought to use what He has given to serve Him, and help those around us. Some churches use the opening stanza just before offerings to the Lord are received.

CH-1) We give Thee but Thine own,
Whate’er the gift may be;
All that we have is Thine alone,
A trust, O Lord, from Thee.

CH-2) May we Thy bounties thus
As stewards true receive,
And gladly, as Thou blessest us,
To Thee our firstfruits give.

Then Dr. How lists some of the things we can do, by the grace of God, and as He equips us. Though he puts an emphasis on charity, and material needs (“homes are bare and cold”), there is also a recognition of the spiritual need of “lambs for whom the Shepherd bled” (CH-3).

CH-4) To comfort and to bless,
To find a balm for woe,
To tend the lone and fatherless
Is angels’ work below.

CH-5) The captive to release,
To God the lost to bring,
To teach the way of life and peace—
It is a Christ-like thing.

In the final stanza we are reminded that when believers help others, in the name of Christ, they are serving Him, and doing it unto Him (cf. Matt. 18:5; 25:40; Col. 3:23-24).

CH-6) And we believe Thy Word,
Though dim our faith may be;
Whate’er for Thine we do, O Lord,
We do it unto Thee.

1) If everything we have comes from God, what is the proper response to that?

2) What is the difference between laying up treasures on earth, and laying up treasures in heaven (see Matt. 6:19-21)?

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


  1. I don’t have much to add to your questions, but this hymn takes me back to my home congregation. They sang CH-1 and CH-2 each Sunday after the offering. Haven’t been back in years, but my hunch is that they haven’t changed that practice!


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