This precious hymn “Living for Jesus” was written in 1917 by Thomas Chisholm (1866-1960) at the request of the composer, Harold Lowden, who had used his tune two years earlier with another text. Lowden, however, was not satisfied with the union of his tune with the earlier text and wrote Mr. Chisholm, suggesting the title “Living for Jesus” for the new hymn setting. Chisholm felt very inadequate for the task, but within two weeks the words were completed. This hymn has been translated into more than 15 languages.
Thomas Chisholm had been an editor, a schoolteacher, and a Methodist minister before ill health forced him to begin a less strenuous life as an insurance salesman. His favorite endeavor had always been the writing of poetry, and he continued to do this all through his ninety-four years. “I have greatly desired,” he said, “that each hymn or poem might send some definite message to the hearts for whom it was written.” Though humble in spirit and frail in health, Chisholm found that writing encouraging words such as these for God’s people to sing was his “pathway of blessing.”
In the midst of our frantic daily activity, we occasionally become aware that apart from a life of faith in Christ, there is no eternal purpose for what we are doing. Our busyness keeps us from facing the fact that everything we do adds up to zero, unless we believe what the apostle Paul said, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). As you read the words to this beautiful hymn I want you to ask yourself “Are you experiencing in Jesus Christ a life that is really worth living? Simply put, “Living for Jesus is the best reason for living!” I trust you will be blessed by this precious hymn, which should be the desire of those who truly profess faith in the Living Savior. Enjoy my brethren!
Living for Jesus a life that is true;
Striving to please him in all that I do,
Yielding allegiance, glad hearted and free,
This is the pathway of blessing for me.
O Jesus, Lord and Savior, I give myself to thee;
For thou, in thy atonement, didst give thyself for me;
I own no other master, my heart shall be thy throne,
My life I give, henceforth to live, O Christ for thee alone.
Living for Jesus who died in my place,
Bearing on Calvary my sin and disgrace,
Such love constrains me to answer his call,
Follow his leading and give him my all.
Living for Jesus wherever I am,
Doing each duty in his holy name,
Willing to suffer affliction or loss,
Deeming each trial a part of my cross.
Living for Jesus through earth’s little while,
My dearest treasure, the light of his smile,
Seeking the lost ones he died to redeem,
Bringing the weary to find rest in him.
Once upon a time a man stopped at a travel agency and said he wanted to go on a cruise. “Where to?” he was asked. “I don’t know,” was his reply. So the travel agent suggested that he take a look at a large globe that was in the room. He studied it for quite some time, then with a look of frustration he exclaimed, “Is this all you have to offer?” My brethren, the world in which we live has many things that appeal to us. Apart from what is sinful, we can and should enjoy its pleasures. A delicious meal graced with the good fellowship of friends warms our hearts. The beauties of nature inspire and fill us with wonder. Good music refreshes our souls, and work itself can also be fulfilling.
Thus, even in a sin-cursed world we can find great enjoyment, and yet these pursuits do not bring full and lasting satisfaction. In fact, people who live only for self-gratification, no matter how lofty their achievements, will always long for more. It makes no difference how deeply they drink from the wells of this world’s pleasures, their thirst is still not satisfied. They must agree with Solomon that “all is vanity and grasping for the wind” (Ecclesiastes 2:17). My brethren, only by living for Jesus Christ, do we experience true satisfaction.
Putting Jesus Christ first and living for Him brings satisfaction that lasts forever.