Posted by: rcottrill | November 19, 2018

Living for Jesus, O What Peace

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Words: Charles Frederick Weigle (b. Nov. 20, 1871; d. Dec. 3, 1966
Music: Charles Frederick Weigle

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Charles Weigle)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Mr. Weigle was a trained musician and he wrote over a thousand songs, He was also a gospel singer, and later became an evangelist, a preacher of the gospel. Living for Jesus, O What Peace (not to be confused with Living for Jesus, by Thomas Chisholm) is a lovely song, with a message that becomes all the richer when you learn about the man who wrote it. You can hear a beautiful rendition of it here on YouTube.

Over the years, television quiz shows have asked all kinds of questions. Jeopardy has invented a twist on this: they give the answer, and ask what the question should be. In either case, knowledge is tested, and contestants can often win a considerable amount of money from their depth of knowledge of various subjects.

But there’s a question I’ve never heard asked. In decades of following game shows, the question has never come up. Answering it can be challenging, and perhaps make us a little uncomfortable. The question is: What are you living for? The answer has to do with things such as our goals, our values and purpose in life.

Perhaps some will respond, “I haven’t really thought much about that.” If so, it may imply a life that is carelessly drifting, or basically directionless. But if we don’t have an understanding of what something is for–a plumb bob, a stethoscope, a life–how can we use it effectively? And if we don’t know where we’re going, it begs the question where will we end up? Our life’s purpose should become a kind of test of everything we do, and everything that happens to us. Will this forward my purpose? Or hinder it?

An honest and perceptive answer to the question can be sobering. Many responses will indicate largely self-centred goals. Career advancement, money and possessions, prestige and the approval of others, pleasure–which may be focused on things like alcohol and drugs, or sex, or some kind of all-consuming hobby. Even living for one’s family can be rather selfish, if looked at in terms of how they can benefit and satisfy us.

There can be another problem with the options mentioned, a more serious one. That they are not only focused on pleasing ourselves, but are time bound. Like the rich farmer in Jesus’ parable (Lk. 12:16-21), the person may plan to “pull down [his] barns and build greater…[then] eat, drink, and be merry,” with no thought of eternity. Instead, the Lord counsels us, “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matt. 6:20).

Earthly treasures will all be left behind (Ps. 49:17; I Tim. 6:7). How then can we lay up treasures in heaven? The answer is found in a Christ-centred life. First, to put our faith in Christ as our only Saviour from sin. Then, to live a life in fellowship with Him, praise of Him, obedience to Him, and service for Him. The latter involves using our gifts and opportunities to bless others for Jesus’ sake, rather than seeking personal gain.

Phrased in the well known couplet by missionary C. T. Studd:

Only one life, ‘twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Paul put it even more succinctly: “To me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). And if to live is Christ, to die can only be gain. That’s true for each one of us.

It’s the conclusion reached by evangelist and gospel song writer Charles Weigle, and it’s beautifully expressed in his song, Living for Jesus, O What Peace! But we need to ask what he meant by that.

Was he suggesting the Christian life is a peaceful life, with no pain, no trials? No. In fact, Mr. Weigle struggled financially. And his wife, dissatisfied with her inability to have the things of this life, packed up and left him, taking their young daughter with her. Five years later, she died in a far off city, ruined by the pleasures of sin.

There are hints in the song that the author’s life had its troubles. “Trials may come” (stanza 1); “all of my burden…friends may forsake me” (stanza 3). No, the “peace” Weigle’s song speaks of doesn’t depend on the comforts of this world, but in the knowledge that we are investing our lives for Christ. It is a joy to serve Him, and know our service counts for something–and that everlasting joy and blessing await us up ahead.

CH-1) Living for Jesus–O what peace!
Rivers of pleasure never cease.
Trials may come, yet I’ll not fear.
Living for Jesus, He is near.

Help me to serve Thee more and more.
Help me to praise Thee o’er and o’er;
Live in Thy presence day by day,
Never to turn from Thee away.

CH-2) Living for Jesus–O what rest!
Pleasing my Saviour, I am blest.
Only to live for Him alone,
Doing His will till life is done!

CH-3) Living for Jesus everywhere,
All of my burden He doth bear.
Friends may forsake me; He’ll be true.
Trusting in Him, He’ll guide me through.

CH-4) Living for Jesus till at last
Into His glory I have passed;
There to behold Him on His throne,
Hear from His lips, “My child, well done!”

Questions:
1) What does “living for Jesus” mean to you personally?

2) How has this life purpose been a blessing to you?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Charles Weigle)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org


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