When I was growing up, our church used to sing the hymn “I Surrender All”. It contained the line:
“All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.”
According to the dictionary the word ”All” means “The whole of one’s possessions, energy, or interest”. So what we are saying when we sing this song is this:
“All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender the entirety of my possessions, the entirety of my life, the entirety of my interest, and to Thee I give my mind, heart, soul and strength.”
Ouch. If this hits home with you, rest assured it does with me too. These words weren’t written lightly and they aren’t to be sung lightly. We must never sing lightly to God. A. W. Tozer famously said, “Christians don’t tell lies, they just go to church and sing them.” We must make certain that we are not lying to God in song. If we say it, or sing it, to God and don’t mean it, we have made a vow we are unwilling to keep. And that is sin.
As Christians, we belong to Christ. Our lives are His. Our time is His. Our money is His. Our bodies, our homes, our possessions, our talents, everything is His. Are we surrendering everything to Christ? Are we even willing to?
Have we willingly and without hesitation surrendered up to Him our…
Or to put it in practical American terms, if we are called to cut back on the activities our family enjoys or to cut out luxuries in order to help the poor, are we willing to do that? What if God calls us to sell our practically new car and drive an old beater one in order to help spread the Gospel? What if helping a missionary means we can’t go out to eat as often as we’d like? What if it means we can never go out to eat? What if it means instead of saving for and buying our dream house, we are satisfied with what God has blessed us with so that we can take the extra and use it to buy Bibles for those who have never seen one, or to take in an unwed mother and tenderly care for her and her little one? Or to do any number of things that we might be doing if we were really dedicated to caring for the downcast, the poor or the oppressed. If we were really dedicated to saving souls. If our money truly belongs to God, it is His to use as He sees fit and He has already made it clear in Scripture how we are called to use it: For His glory.
Are we surrendering our time to God? Are we willing to give God all of our time–not because we get some supernatural guidance from the Lord but simply because His Word commands us to? No doubt, for most all of us, this will hurt. Much of what we do, even much of what Christians do (and by this I mean real Christians and not those with some cultural idea of what it means), isn’t done for the glory of God or even with a desire to please Him. It seems we think that He is in the big things of our lives but the little pieces all belong to us. That just isn’t so. Every hour, every minute, every second is His to do with as He pleases. He is Sovereign. He is in control. We are His to command. So what would He have us do about our obsession with fun? Would He have us give us our television shows in order to study His Word? Give up a night out with the girls in order to stay at home serving our family? Or lay aside the latest must-read novel in order to pray? Is He pleased with the amount of time we spend working and the quality of our work performance? With our efforts at cooking and cleaning our homes? With our offerings to Him in our friendships? Do we honor Him as we gather together or do we complain and gossip? Are we honoring Him with the amount of time we spend shopping? Sleeping? Resting? Bumming off? What if giving God all of our time means that we end up serving someone who has been anything but kind to us? God wouldn’t call us to do that, would He? Perhaps He would; after all, when Jesus washed the feet of the disciples at the Last Supper, He washed Judas’s also.
Are we surrendering our talents? Using the gifts He has given us for the furtherance of His Kingdom rather than the furtherance of our own? Can we do that while praising Him for the opportunity He has presented us? Are we who write willing to write only that which pleases Him–even if it costs us lost opportunities? Are business people willing to run their business in ways that bring Him glory–without stressing over lost contracts? Are those who act willing to lay aside all opportunities that deny the One Who bought them–willing to lay aside fame for a much greater purpose? Soldiers, policemen, firemen, teachers, scientists, are we willing to do only that, say only that, believe only that that is in accordance with the Holy Word of God, to use our talents, that with which He has blessed us, for Him and His glory? His alone? Or Moms at home, are we willing to live only for Christ’s glory each and every day as we minister to, guide, love, play with, teach and protect our precious little ones?
If we aren’t serving Him with all that we are, we aren’t serving Him at all. Surrendering some to God is the same as surrendering nothing to Him. If we aren’t willing to surrender everything we have and all that we are, we need to rethink our declaration of love for Him. For as Hudson Taylor said, “Christ is either Lord of all, or is not Lord at all.”
(photo courtesy of 123RF Image ID: 20126777)