I’d Rather Have Jesus
I’d rather have Jesus than anything this world affords today. — Hymn written in 1922
This popular song was written by a lady named Rhea Miller. Rhea grew up in a home with an alcoholic father, but a mother who was faithful to the Lord. Eventually her dad was saved and became a pastor. One day, the family was walking and dad became very aware of what God had done for him. He simply said “I’d rather have Jesus than all the gold and silver in the world, and all the land that money could buy.” This got stuck in her mind and she eventually wrote the song we know now.
It is kind of strange when this song runs through my mind. It never comes to my mind like it did for Rhea’s dad when I feel really close to God and feel like I am walking hand in hand with Him. It comes to my mind when I do this drifting away from Him thing that I hate. When I get a little too far away, it is then that this song starts playing in my mind. The drifting away almost always begins because my heart gravitates toward worldly possessions.
Golf used to be my god. Every once in a while I got to play on some really nice courses with some really unbelievably nice houses. After we finished our round of golf, my heart would long to live in a place like that where I could play golf all the time. I said I was a Christian, but I didn’t pursue God nearly to the degree that I pursued the perfect golf swing. I might have said “I’d rather have Jesus,” but the longings of my heart and the way I lived my life didn’t reflect that at all.
To this day, my mind still drifts occasionally. If my wife and I are on a big, fancy cruise ship, my mind starts considering what it would be like if we had the money to go a LOT more frequently. If I see the lottery signs go up to hundreds of millions of dollars, I start entertaining what I would do with all of that money. It always starts noble…helping my church, buying cars for people who need them, etc. But, eventually it gets to me and I entertain all that I would do for myself with the money. If it did happen to me, I can’t imagine the fight I would have on my hands to stay in love with God. I will always be grateful for a man at church who told me he didn’t want to win the lottery. When I asked him why, he simply told me that the Bible said it was hard for a rich man to enter into Heaven, so why in the world would we want to make it hard?
The truth of the matter is that we are all pursuing something. I remember pursuing my education, pursuing a job, pursuing girls, pursuing the ability to play an instrument, pursuing a great golf game, and pursuing money along with all of the nice things it can buy. When I think back on those pursuits, I wasn’t pursuing God at all. I might show up at church on Sunday, but Monday through Saturday I didn’t spend a single minute with The Lord.
I say all that to say this: My heart and mind drifted a bit while we were on vacation. Fortunately, I stepped out on the balcony of our cruise ship and the Lord provided me with an unbelievable sunset over the ocean that just screamed “I love you, Adam.” Immediately, His presence filled my soul and I broke down and just thanked Him for all He had done for me. I knew in my heart that I really would rather have Him in my heart and life than absolutely anything that this world offers. The best part came after I spent this time with God. That kind of lifestyle was no longer something I wanted to acquire for the long term, it was simply a nice, sweet blessing from The Lord. I enjoyed the rest of my time immensely because I saw it from a proper perspective. I even enjoyed getting back to work and to the grind of this life that God has given me. I think I am really beginning to learn that if He really is with me, and I am seriously and consciously aware of it, it doesn’t matter what I’m doing, where I am, or how much I have. If I have Him…I have everything!
In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. — 1 Peter 1:6-7