We Give Thee but Thine Own
From beginning to end, the scriptures tell the story of God’s providence—God’s concern for our needs.
• In the creation story, God first created everything that humans would need to sustain life—to include the creation of a beautiful garden filled with “every tree…that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food” (Genesis 2:9).
• Jesus counseled his followers not to be anxious about food, drink, and clothing, “for the Gentiles seek after all these things; (and) your heavenly Father knows that he need all these things. But seek first God’s King, and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:31-33).
• The book of Revelation portrays the holy city, Jerusalem as having walls made of precious stones, gates made of pearl, and streets paved with gold (Revelation 21:9ff).
The many ways that God has provided for our needs are apparent to anyone with eyes to see. God created the sun to give light by day and the moon and stars to give light by night. The sun warms the earth, making it habitable. Its warmth causes seeds to sprout in abundance, and plants respond to its light with a process called photosynthesis, which is essential to our food supply. God gives us air to breathe and water to drink.
If you were to make a comprehensive list of the things that God has given you, how much paper would be required? If you are a thoughtful person, your list would surely go on for page after page.
The author of “We give Thee but Thine Own” was William Walsham How (1823-1897), an Anglican bishop. He was known as “the poor man’s bishop” because of his concern for the poor—and “the omnibus bishop” because he used public transportation rather than a private carriage for travels around town.
Bishop How wrote a number of hymns that reflect his concern for expressing the Gospel in terms that the average person could understand. This hymn is a good example. It speak of stewardship, not as a church budget concern, but as acknowledgement of the blessings that we have received from God.
We give Thee but Thine own,
Whate’er the gift may be;
All that we have is Thine alone,
A trust, O Lord, from Thee.
May we Thy bounties thus
As stewards true receive,
And gladly, as Thou blessest us,
To Thee our firstfruits give.
Scripture quotations from the World English Bible.
Copyright, 2015, Richard Niell Donovan