Id Rather Have Jesus, the Song and the Story

Composer Rhea F. Miller, Music George Beverly Shea Result in Id Rather Have Jesus

Jesus Brushstroke with Heart Accent
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In 1922,a woman named Rhea F. Miller wrote a poem. In 1932, a copy of that poem was placed on the top of an organ in a family home in New York. Seated at the organ was a 23-year-old musician named George Beverly Shea.

Miller's poem caught young George's attention. The words on the paper rang true to the cry of his heart. And so, he set them to music. Upon hearing her son singing this testimony of commitment, George's mother came in from the kitchen, with tears in her eyes, and encouraged him to sing the new song in church the following Sunday.

As the congregants listened to George's deep voice sing out I'd Rather Have Jesus, than silver and gold, little did they know that the song was destined to become one of the most well-known of all contemporary Christian songs.
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A few years later, George joined forces with another young man - Evangelist Billy Graham. Together they traveled the world. Billy would preach and George would sing. His two favorite songs were How Great Thou Art, and his signature song, I'd Rather Have Jesus.

I'd Rather Have Jesus

I'd rather have Jesus than silver or gold,
I'd rather have His than have riches untold;
I'd rather have Jesus than houses or lands,
I'd rather be led by His nailpierced hand

Refrain:
Than to be the king of a vast domain
And be held in sin's dread sway;
I'd rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.

I'd rather have Jesus than men's applause,
I'd rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I'd rather have Jesus than worldwide fame,
I'd rather be true to His holy name

Refrain

He's fairer than lilies of rarest bloom,
He's sweeter than honey from out the comb;
He's all that my hungering spirit needs,
I'd rather have Jesus and let Him lead

Refrain

“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.” (Philippians 3:8).

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Written by: Connie Ruth Christiansen

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