“GIVE OF YOUR BEST TO THE MASTER”

Wayne S. Walker

“But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness…” (Matt.
6.33)

     INTRO.:  A hymn which exhorts us to put the Lord first in our lives
by giving Him our very best is “Give Of Your Best To The Master” (#388 in
“Hymns for Worship Revised” and #97 in “Sacred Selections for the
Church”).  The text was written by Howard Benjamin Grose, who was born at
Millerton, NY, on Sept., 5, 1851, the son of Henry Laurenz and Emma
Louisa Seward Grose.  The son of a Baptist minister, he was educated at
the University of Chicago, from which he received the A.B. Degree in
1876, and the University of Rochester, from which he received the A.M.
degree in 1880.  Also becoming a Baptist minister in 1883, he served the
First Baptist Church of Poughkeepsie, NY, from 1883 to 1887, and the
First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh, PA, from 1888 to 1890.

     Grose then became President of the State University of South Dakota
from 1890 to 1892, after which he served as recorder and assistant
professor of history at the University of Chicago from 1892 to 1896.
Then he was assistant editor of “The Watchman,” a Boston, MA, religious
magazine, from 1896 to 1900, and served as editorial secretary of the
American Baptist Home Mission Society from 1904 to 1910.  Between those
two positions, he produced this hymn in 1901, apparently to fit an
already existing tune (Barnard) composed in 1864 by Charlotte Ailington
Barnard (1830-1869).  An Englishwoman, she had been a student of William
Henry Holmes, professor of piano at the Royal Academy of Music, and
married Charles Cary Barnard in 1854.

     Beginning around 1858, Mrs. Barnard published over 100 secular
ballads under the pseudonym “Claribel,”  the best known of which was
“Come Back To Erin.”  It is not know when this melody was first
associated with Grose’s words.  It is presumed that the hymn first
appeared in “The Endeavor Hymnal” which Grose edited in 1902.  Later he
also co-edited “The Praise Book,” another hymnbook for the United Society
of Christian Endeavor In 1906.  In 1910, Grose began serving as editor of
“Missions” until his retirement in 1933.  An author whose works include
“Aliens or Americans” and “The Incoming Millions,” both published in
1906, “Advance to the Antilles” in 1910, and “Never Man So Spake” in
1924, he died on May 19, 1939, at Ballston Spa near Mt. Vernon, NY.

     This hymn discusses the what, how, and why of giving our best to
Jesus.

I. In stanza 1, we are told the what of giving our best to Jesus
“Give of your best to the Master, Give of the strength of your youth;
Throw your soul’s fresh, glowing ardor Into the battle for truth.
Jesus has set the example, Dauntless was He, young and brave; Give Him
your loyal devotion, Give Him the best that you have.”
  A. God wants us to give Him the strength of our youth: Eccl. 12.1
  B. The reason is that He wants us to throw our soul’s ardor into the
battle for truth: 1 Tim. 1.18, 6.12; 2 Tim. 2.3-4
  C. Jesus, even as a young man, set the example of giving our best to
God: Lk. 2.52, 1 Pet. 2.21

II. In stanza 2, we are told the how of giving our best to Jesus
“Give of your best to the Master; Give Him first place in your heart;
Give Him first place in your service, Consecrate every part.
Give, and to you shall be given; God His beloved Son gave; Gratefully
seeking to serve Him, Give Him the best that you have.”
  A. We give our best to Jesus by giving Him first place in our heart,
because He wants us to love Him with all our hearts: Mk. 12.29-30
  B. We also give our best to Jesus by giving Him first place in our
service, because from everyone to whom much is given much will be
required: Lk. 12.48
  C. Therefore, we must consecrate every part by presenting our bodies a
living sacrifice to the Lord and not being conformed to this world: Rom.
12.1-2

III. In stanza 3, we are told the why of giving our best to Jesus
“Give of your best to the Master; Naught else is worthy His love; He gave
Himself for your ransom, Gave up His glory above;
Laid down His life without murmur, You from sin’s ruin to save; Give Him
your heart’s adoration, Give Him the best that you have.”
  A. We should give Christ our best because nothing else is worthy of His
love: Eph. 5.2, 1 Jn. 3.16
  B. We should give Christ our best because He gave His best for us in
leaving heaven, coming to earth, and dying for our sins: Phil. 2.5-8
  C. And we should give Christ our best because He, as the divine Son of
God, alone is worthy of our heart’s adoration: Exo. 20.3, Matt. 4.10

     CONCL.:  The chorus repeats the basic thought of the opening lines
of this song of consecration and devotion:
“Give of your best to the Master; Give of the strength of your youth;
Clad in salvation’s full armor, Join the battle for truth.”
When you consider all that Jesus has done for you and all that you can be
for Him, you should be motivated to “Give Of Your Best To The Master.”
     Of course, the only way to start giving our best to the Master is to
obey the gospel that we might receive forgiveness of sins and become His
followers: Acts 8.12.

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