One of the central themes of renewal movements such as Anabaptism, Pietism, and Methodism is the offering of the Christian’s life to God. Below is a Pietist hymn written by Joachim Lange in 1697 and translated by John Wesley in 1739.
- O God, what offering shall I give
To Thee, the Lord of earth and skies?
My spirit, soul, and flesh receive,
A holy, living sacrifice.
Small as it is, ‘tis all my store:
More shouldst Thou have, if I had more!
- My Lord, my God, thou hast my soul,
No longer mine, but Thine I am;
Guard Thou thine own, possess it whole;
Cheer it with hope, with love inflame.
Thou hast my spirit, there display
Thy wisdom to the perfect day.
- Thou hast my flesh, thy hallow’d shrine,
Devoted solely to Thy will
Here let Thy light forever shine
This house still let Thy presence fill
O Source of life, live, dwell, and move
In me, till all my life be love!
Today, instead of singing these lyrics, we sing lyrics like “Nothing I bring, nought as an offering to Jesus my King / Only my sinful, now contrite heart.” We used to sing, “My spirit, soul, and flesh receive, a holy, living sacrifice.” Both of these lyrics are poetic, to be sure; but they say different things. What are we offering to God today? He wants our hearts, to be sure. He wants our spirit, soul, and flesh as well. Are we robbing him in these offerings?
What offering shall we give?