What A Friend We Have In Jesus

One of the best known gospel songs was not written for public consumption! Please give it a listen, and come back for more.

Not intended for prime time

Around 1855 Joseph Scriven wrote this song’s lyrics as a poem to comfort his sorrowing mother. Somehow the poem made it to Charles Converse who is credited with adding a melody to the poem in 1868. Years later, when Joseph himself was on a sickbed, a friend found the original poem among Joseph’s things and learned he had written it. That discovery resulted in credit finally being correctly assigned to the song’s lyricist.

An audience of practically no one

Joseph Scriven wrote the poem without seeking an audience (besides his mother), but his beautiful song has certainly found one on its own! There is a lesson to be learned here.

When I was growing up, “Leave It To Beaver” was a popular TV show about a middle class suburban family’s everyday adventures. I recall a clever line said by Beaver — the young kid in this TV family. Beaver quipped, “No point in wasting good manners on my family!” I thought that was funny, and said it in my fifth-grade class. I’ll never forget Miss Jackson, the teacher, taking me to task, correcting me, saying, “Oh, my! Your family is the most important place to use good manners!!”

The lesson: We shouldn’t reserve our best for the big crowd or for strangers. Those closest to us are worthy of our best!

John 3:16 might be the most famous Bible verse. Do you know how many people were there when Jesus said it? Just one! Nicodemus.

Jesus’s talk on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24 is another example:

“And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

Wouldn’t you love to have heard Jesus that day?!? Though it would certainly have enthralled a large stadium full of people, Jesus gave the whole talk to … two people!

Jesus’s first miracle — water to wine — who saw it? Only the servants. The guests got to drink the wine, but the workers alone saw the miracle.

Let’s not be afraid our “best” will be wasted if the audience seems small. Let God open the doors as He sees fit. Let’s do our best to bring GOD’S BEST to what ever group we have the privilege to serve.

Precious Savior, still our refuge

Philippians 4:6 & 7 is given as the theme verse of our song:

Be careful [anxious] for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

At times in life we will be tempted with anxiety. Let’s make up our minds to remember these verses and act on them in those times. Let’s arm ourselves by memorizing Philippians 4:6 & 7, and even learning a verse or two of this wonderful song, “What A Friend We Have In Jesus”. We can give the Lord something in our minds to work with, and annoy the adversary at the same time!

God bless you lots.

-Dale R.


LYRICS: What A Friend We Have In Jesus
Words: Joseph Scriven c. 1855
Music: Charles Convers, 1868


What a Friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged,
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness,
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy-laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge—
Take it to the Lord in prayer;
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer;
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
Thou wilt find a solace there.

Your thoughts?

Have you ever had the best time with the smallest group? Tell us about it. Please jot a note in the “Leave a reply” spot below.


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THANKS! – Dale


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2 Replies to “What A Friend We Have In Jesus”

  1. Hannah

    I like your reasoning for taking the time to memorize verses of scripture and songs…”We can give the Lord something in our minds to work with…” That’s so good! Also appreciating the admonition to give our best to small audiences and those closest to us. Thanks for the good food! 💕

    Reply
  2. Julia Witchard

    Good afternoon, Mr Dale, yes what a friend we do have in , OUR FATHER JESUS….HE AND HE ALONG IS OUR BESTEST OF FRIEND, HE IS THE ONE TRUE FRIEND, WE CAN POUR OUT OUR Heart To, HE IS THERE FOR US, “WITH OPEN ARMS “………REMEMBER. HE STRETCHED OUT HIS ARMS AND DIED….I LOVE YOU MY FATHER JESUS….”ALWAYS ” THANKS, Mr Dale for reminding me of, ” HOW GOOD OUR FATHER JESUS IS…JULIA…

    Reply

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