By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments (1 John 5:2). It never ceases to amaze me that God loves me unconditionally. Jesus is the ultimate example of God’s love for all of humanity. God so desires our love that he was willing to sacrifice his only son in order to have a personal relationship with each of us. The hymn “My Jesus, I Love Thee” is a prayer of thankfulness and love for that sacrifice and a commitment to love Christ for all of eternity.

This Sunday, I am playing a setting of “My Jesus, I Love Thee” that I arranged and dedicated to my mother several years ago. I grew up listening to Mom play the piano and organ in the various churches that my dad pastored. She was my original inspiration for learning to play, and she taught me much of what I know about playing hymns for congregational singing.

When my mom was seven years old, her family moved to the Cayman Islands as missionaries. Her two older sisters had taken piano lessons when they had still been living in the United States, but my mom never received any formal piano lessons. Upon moving to the Islands, she quickly learned to play by ear the songs she heard her sisters playing. That developed into an amazing skill that she has used for her entire life.

Using that skill, the first hymn she taught herself to play was “My Jesus, I Love Thee.” I chose to dedicate this arrangement to her not only because of the special place the hymn holds in her heart, but also because the words are her testimony.

The hymn begins by declaring love for Jesus because of a personal relationship. The poet promises to leave the “follies of sin” in order to love Christ fully. The second stanza of the hymn looks back at Christ on the cross. It is a stanza of thankfulness and an outpouring of love to the one who suffered sin’s curse so that we could be restored to a relationship with God. In the final stanza, the poet looks forward to worshiping and loving Jesus face to face.

Picturing Christ on the cross in the past, having a personal relationship with him in the present, and yearning for the joy of being with him through eternity should cause us to truly share this sentiment: “If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.”

Throughout my entire life, I have seen my mother live this out. Her love for her savior is so great, and it never wavers. May this be the testimony of each of us. May others know that we are children of God by our love.

My Jesus, I love thee; I know thou art mine.
For thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious redeemer, my savior art thou;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus ’tis now.

I love thee because thou hast first loved me
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree.
I love thee for wearing the thorns on thy brow;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

In mansions of glory and endless delight,
I’ll ever adore thee in heaven so bright.
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow:
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

— William R. Featherstone

– Shelton

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This