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  • Jeff Kent

None of Self

John 12:24-26


My grandfather Shirley (Yes, you read correctly) was an elder in the church and also a song leader. I remember on numerous occasions when we would go to visit him and Grandma that he would be working on a new song to teach the congregation. After we got in the house, he’d pick up his songbook and tuning fork and say something like, “What do you think about this one?” Then he would start to sing and try to work out the melody. Often our Dad would join in. It’s a special memory.

One of the songs which I specifically remember Grandpa working on was called None of Self and All of Thee (#565 in our current hymnal). It was one of the first songs through which I realized that the writer was using all of the verses to tell a story. The song encapsulates the conversion of a person to Christ Jesus and his/her subsequent spiritual maturing in the love of God.

The first verse finds the individual proudly saying to Jesus, “All of self, and none of Thee.” But a view of the cross and the sacrificial blood of the Lord moves this honest heart to faintly say, “Some of self, and some of Thee.” The love of God is relentless, however, and as there is more and more awareness of the mercies of the Almighty, the heart is brought lower: “Less of self, and more of Thee.” In the last stanza, the singer has been overwhelmed by the love of God, and the song builds to a mighty end with “None of self, and all of Thee.” We should sing it more often.

The sentiment in this song is found throughout scripture. It is a foundational theme in the relationship of mankind to its God. The cross of Christ is a powerful demonstration of the love of God. He loved us first, and our response is to return that love by humble submission and obedience; to present our bodies as living sacrifices. Jesus said that those who loved their own lives would lose them, but those who hated their lives would keep them for eternal life.

None of self and all of Thee. Easier sung than done.

><> Jeff

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