“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
I can think of no greater saint of the Lord than Francis Havergal. Not only was her heart and soul devoted solely to the Lord, but all that she was – her mind, her eyes, her ears, her mouth, her hands, and her feet – all responded to the call of the Holy Spirit to serve in the talents bestowed upon her. She was daughter of an Anglican priest and wrote this hymn in 1874 – in fact, she wrote many other hymns in that happy year.
I was surprised to find the hymn included in the 1940 Hymnal owing to the beauty of its simplicity, but it is indeed to be found there as hymn #408. The hymn appears with only two verses in the Hymnal, but I have added an additional verse that offers even greater beauty to its meaning. The tune included in the Hymnal is HOLLINGSIDE by John Dykes; but there are two other tunes to which the hymn is sung that I find far more appealing: HENDON by Henri Malan (1827); and MOZART, by none other than Wolfgang Mozart (1791).
In her manuscripts, she thought that others might enjoy knowing how the hymn came to be written. Below, she tells us in her own words:
“I went for a little visit of five days (to Areley House). There were ten persons in the house, some unconverted and long prayed for, some converted, but not rejoicing Christians. He gave me the prayer, “Lord, give me all in this house!” And He just did. Before I left the house every one had got a blessing. The last night of my visit after I had retired, the governess asked me to go to the two daughters. They were crying, &c.; then and there both of them trusted and rejoiced; it was nearly midnight. I was too happy to sleep, and passed most of the night in praise and renewal of my own consecration; and these little couplets formed themselves, and chimed in my heart one after another till they finished with ‘Ever, Only, ALL for Thee!’”Havergal Manuscripts
TAKE MY LIFE AND LET IT BE CONSECRATE, LORD TO THEE
Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice, and let me sing always, only, for my King.
Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect, and use every power as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.
“Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee. Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise. Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love. Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.” I would hate to leave this world with any part of my being left in Hell. In fact, if our feet, hands, eyes, ears, of mind are left in Hell, the whole body will be left there as well since God does not divide spoils with the Devil. Anything laid upon the altar of God is consecrated and Holy; so we must also be Holy, for God is Holy – and we are a part of Him if we are One with Him. Many folks make a big fuss about tithing EXACTLY ten percent of their increase in money to the church coffer; but how about the rest of your being – your time, your home, your social life, your profession – are these, too, tithed to the Lord? The compassion of Christ and the Good Samaritan motivated their feet to move to the point where healing could be rendered. Love moves and motivates the Christian to action, not simply sympathy. If our feet are dedicated and consecrated to the Lord, they will be swift to go wherever the Spirit calls; the hands will administer to all the Spirit reveals; the mouth will be overflowing with the sweet testimony of the Gospel; and our hours will be filled with joyful praise and service.
“Take my voice, and let me sing always, only, for my King. Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee. Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold. Take my intellect, and use every power as Thou shalt choose.” Have you ever felt ‘let down’ by the boring and spiritually dry singing of hymns in church? Even ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’ sounds like a funeral dirge in some churches. Why not sing with all the heart and enthusiasm we can muster? “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10) Only an incorrigible malingerer would limit this counsel to the hands for it is intended for every cell and tissue of our body. Do our very best at labor, at singing, at sharing the love of Christ, at running to the point of need, and of thinking on those things that lift and do not oppress. God is not simply entitled to a tenth of our gold and silver, but ALL of it. He owns us, therefore, He owns all that we possess bodily, spiritually, and mentally. When we sing that little hymn at offering time, “I SURRENDER ALL,” do we mean it?
The story is told of a young poor boy of perhaps ten years who felt the need of the Lord in his heart. He hesitated to enter the doors of the fancy church he chanced to pass, but the Spirit had a strong hold on him. He nervously entered the church filled with men, women, boys, and girls, dressed in clean and radiant apparel. The boy felt very small and worthless in such company. He sat down in a vacant pew and, though the church was fairly filled with worshippers, no one deigned to sit by this impoverished and dirty lad. He sat and listened intently to the sermon from Romans 12. How could he present anything to the Lord – he had not a penny to his name. When the offering was taken, the boy took the offering plate in hand to the suspicion and dismay of the more sophisticated worshippers. He removed his shoes, placed the plate on the floor, and stood in the plate. It was the only thing he could give, but it was also all that he had to give. “…present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God...” (Romans 12:1) How do you believe that gift was received beyond the Gates of Splendor?
“Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine. Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne. Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store. Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.” Here is a small misconception in the lyrics. I do not desire for the Lord to make my will His own. My will is filled with unpleasant and sinful notions. I want Him to make HIS will to be MY will! The wills we own are by no means free wills – they are dead wills (in trespasses and sins). I want a LIVING Will that belongs only to God and granted only by Him. Our hearts become the Temple of God when He abides within. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords – a King is never without sovereignty on His own Throne. One other point: we could have no love for the Lord to receive if it were not first drawn from the well of His Love. “ Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” (1 John 4:7-11) Yes, God is the Fountainhead of Love. “ We love him, because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
The secret to total surrender to God is found in the mystery of the boundless LOVE He has bestowed upon His own. The key to obedience, to faith, to grace, to mercy, to service is bound up in that one great and divine treasure – LOVE!