MY JESUS, I LOVE THEE
William R. Featherston, 1846–1873
We love Him because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19)
And shall I use these ransomed powers of mine
For things that only minister to me?
Lord, take my tongue, my hands, my heart, my all,
And let me live and love for Thee!
The spiritual depth of “My Jesus, I Love Thee” is made all the more remarkable by the knowledge that it was written by a teenager. William Ralph Featherston of Montreal, Canada, is thought to have written these lines of heartfelt gratitude to Christ at the time of his conversion experience when only 16. It is believed he then sent a copy of his poem to an aunt in Los Angeles, and somehow the text appeared anonymously in print in an English hymnal, The London Book, in 1864.
Several years later, a well-known American Baptist pastor, Dr. A. J. Gordon, discovered the anonymous hymn in the English hymnbook and decided to compose a better melody for it. With its new tune the hymn has since been included in nearly every evangelical hymnal and has been sung frequently by believers everywhere during hushed moments of rededication to God.
How marvelous are the workings of God in bringing together expressions such as these, providing a hymn that has been used in a remarkable way for more than a century to direct Christians to a deeper relationship with their Lord. May these words cause each of us even now to renew our devotion to God so that this love for Christ may be reflected in all of the activities of this day.
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.
I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death, and praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath; and say when the death-dew lies cold on my 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.”
For Today: John 14:23; Ephesians 2:4, 5; 1 Peter 1:8; 2:9; 1 John 4:7–21
Express your own love for the Savior in fresh and fervent words; reflect on what He has done for you, what He is presently doing, and the future glory that still awaits. Determine to demonstrate your loving devotion for Christ with an encouraging word or deed for some needy individual.
Osbeck, K. W.
- Jesus answered, and said unto him, If any man love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and will dwell with him. John 14:23
- But God which is rich in mercy, through his great love wherewith he loved us. Even when we were dead by sins, hath quickened us together in Christ, by whose grace ye are saved, Ephesians 2:4-5
- Whom ye have not seen, and yet love him, in whom now, though ye see hi not, yet do you believe, and rejoice with [joy] unspeakable and glorious. … But ye are a chosen generation, a royal Priesthood, an holy nation, a people set at liberty, that ye should show forth the virtues of him that hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 1:8; 2:9
- Beloved, let us love one another: for love cometh of God, and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 1 John 4:7–21