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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Take my will and make it thine;
it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is thine own:
it shall be thy royal throne.

Take my life; my Lord, I pour
at thy feet its treasure store;
take myself and I will be
ever, only, all for thee.

Frances Ridley Havergal’s “Take My Life” (tune: Hendon)
from Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal

We possess so many things that fill our thoughts, distract us, and sometimes lead us down a selfish path. Sacrificing our daily routine or our extraneous possessions is already difficult when we do it voluntarily but almost impossible when it’s beyond our control. I lived in an intentional community during college, and the group of students that were finishing up their spring semester before I moved in unfortunately lost all their possessions in a sudden electrical fire that engulfed the house right after Easter.

My friends lost some replaceable possessions, but they also lost handwritten journals, photographs, and prized family objects they regarded priceless and safe in their home. As they experienced different stages of loss and frustration, they decided, after their home was rebuilt, to pay tribute through a mural to this loss. The central image of the mural was a quote: “You are not what you own.”

The acceptance of a sacrifice sometimes feels impossible, but the ultimate release of things, distractions, and negativity allows us to surrender our own needs and wants to God. Frances Ridley Havergal’s own sacrifice is more joyful in this hymn through her fervent devotion to, and trust, in God. 

Think how freeing it would be to hand over all those distractions and all the negative emotions that weigh us down. At first it might be hard to imagine such a sacrifice, but knowing and trusting that God will gladly lead us down a righteous path can foster a sense of humility. Let us remember that our complete devotion to God keeps us safe and comforted.

Dear God, help us surrender our lives to your work and deeds. Let us rest our concerns in your hands and sacrifice our own desires to do your will. Amen.

Written by Jackie Lorens, Associate Program Manager,
Chicago Lights Elam Davies Social Service Center

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