Posted by: rcottrill | January 6, 2014

Give of Your Best to the Master

Words: Howard Benjamin Grose (b. Sept. 5, 1851; d. May 19, 1939)
Music: Barnard, by Charlotte Alington Pye Barnard (b. Dec. 23, 1830; d. Jan. 30, 1869)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: This hymn was published in 1902. The tune had first been used with a secular ballad, under Mrs Barnard’s pen name Claribel. The Cyber Hymnal will give you biographical notes on both the author and composer.

Pastor Grose wrote this hymn to be included in The Endeavour Hymnal, a compilation of songs used in meetings of the Christian Endeavour Society. Beginning in Portland, Maine, in 1881, Christian Endeavour was an early youth movement that spread among Protestant churches. It is now international, and includes adults as well as youth. But the focus on young people can be seen in this hymn, “Give of the strength of your youth” (CH-1).

The key verse of Christian Endeavour is Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” It’s commendable Pledge shows something of its purpose and goal:

Trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ for strength, I promise Him that I will strive to do whatever He would have me do; I will make it the rule of my life to pray and to read the Bible every day; I will support the work and worship of my church in every way possible; I will seek to bring others to Christ; and so far as I know how, throughout my whole life, I will endeavour to lead a Christian life.

Amen! I can support that. And the word “endeavour” is a biblical one (cf. Eph. 4:3). It means to make an effort, to be diligent. We are to be “not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord” (Rom. 12:11). And as in our service, so in our Christian lives.

“Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love” (II Pet. 1:5-7).

The hymn follows the same line of thought. “Give of your best to the Master.” Not your second best. Not some scraps of your life, tossed to Him after you’ve had your fill.

My father was the organist and choir director of our church. One evening at choir practice a young man wandered in late, interrupting what was going on, as he slid past other singers into his place. When my father asked why he was late, he simply shrugged and had no answer. At which my father stung him–and set the bar for all of us–by saying to the late-comer, “The Lord doesn’t want your spare time.”

CH-1) Give of your best to the Master;
Give of the strength of your youth.
Throw your soul’s fresh, glowing ardour
Into the battle for truth.
Jesus has set the example,
Dauntless was He, young and brave.
Give Him your loyal devotion;
Give Him the best that you have.

Give of your best to the Master;
Give of the strength of your youth.
Clad in salvation’s full armour,
Join in the battle for truth.

Several related truths are expressed in the next stanzas. First, that we are to “give Him first place” (CH-2). It’s the Father’s purpose “that in all things He [Christ] may have the preeminence” (Col. 1:18). And “the head of every man is Christ” (I Cor. 11:3). Just as John the Baptist became less prominent, and the Lord Jesus rightly became the focus of attention, so in our own lives, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (Jn. 3:30).

Because of who He is, and because of the great love that wrought our salvation, the Lord is worthy of our very best. Worthy. It’s a word that is applied to Him a number of times. “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honour and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created” (Rev. 4:11). “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honour and glory and blessing!” (Rev. 5:12).

Fitting, then, that our service be the best we have to give Him.

“Walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light” (Col. 1:10-12).

CH-3) Give of your best to the Master;
Naught else is worthy His love.
He gave Himself for your ransom,
Gave up His glory above.
Laid down His life without murmur,
You from sin’s ruin to save.
Give Him your heart’s adoration;
Give Him the best that you have.

Questions:
1) How does the principle of endeavour and diligent effort fit in with dependance on the indwelling Holy Spirit?

2) What other hymns about a challenge to Christian service do you know and use?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


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