A young man named George was sitting is his home one day. His voice was deep baritone and could hit the most intense bass notes. The local radio identified him as a raw talent and promised him an excellent career. Maybe he could one day perform with Elvis Presley! Elvis was on the look out for rich baritone voices anyways.
But young George loved singing hymns and he knew that if he chose the easy way, he would have all the girls gawking at him. He would have all the glory. He would have all the gold. But he would not have Jesus.
I can imagine George pulling out a hundred Bible verses to guide him. Maybe he opened Hebrews 12 that day. And as he let out a sigh, possibly God said to him “Get rid of all your encumbrances and sin that so easily entangles you”. Or maybe he turned to Phillipians 3:14, where it said “Forgetting what is behind and STRAINING towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus!”
He needed to clear his head. Obedience was not easy. He asked himself the obvious questions, “What if God wants me to minister in Hollywood? I can sing the Presley songs, but whenever I can, I can sing a hymn or two”. So, walking to the rustic piano that lay silent in the corner, he started playing. A little paper lay there with a beautiful little poem.
And as he gently caressed the piano keys, a tune came out. And one line after another, he sang :
I would rather have Jesus than silver or gold!
I would rather have Him than have riches untold.
I would rather have Jesus than houses or land!
I would rather be true to His nail pierced hand!
Than to be the king of a vast domain;
Or be held in sin’s dread sway!
I would rather have Jesus than anything ;
This world affords today !
I would rather have Jesus than worldly applause ;
I would rather be faithful to His dear cause.
I would rather have Jesus than world wide fame;
I would rather be true to His holy name!
Than to be the king of a vast domain-
Or be held in sin’s dread sway !
I would rather have Jesus than anything –
This world affords today !
And at the end of the song, I can imagine George Beverly Shea sitting there with tears in his eyes. He knew his calling. This was not going to be easy. I can imagine how as he sat there, Christ said, “George, pick up your cross and follow me!” and then added, “Come unto me George for you are weary and burdened. I love you and I will give you rest”
At that moment George made his choice . The cross was before him and the world was left behind. There was no turning back
George Beverly Shea chose the road less travelled. And that made all the difference!