Jay's eDevotionals  

May 15

I'd Rather Have Jesus...

George Beverly Shea, the legendary gospel singer, recently graduated into Glory at age 104. He grew up in the home of a pastor. Young George possessed a tremendous singing ability and dedicated his talents to the Lord. However, over time there was some drifting. In 1933, during the hard heart of the depression, George worked in an insurance agency as a clerk. He auditioned to sing for one of the most famous groups in New York – the Lyn Murray Singers. He was offered a contract to join the group. He asked if he could occasionally sing gospel music and the director quickly explained they only performed the hits of the day for their radio audience,
so no gospel music would be included.

Bev Shea returned home to ponder and pray. He desperately needed the money. Would he compromise? He stood at a crossroads.

That night, his mother placed a poem on the family piano. The poem was written by Mrs. Rhea Miller. George read the verse and quickly composed a matching tune. The powerful words and music later became one of great gospel singer’s trademarks.

George Beverly Shea turned down the offer of potential fame and fortune because of his renewed commitment to Christ. Later, he went to Chicago, and met a young evangelist named Billy Graham. Over the next 70 years, George Beverly Shea sang his theme song, “I’d Rather Have Jesus” for an estimated 200 million people. He decided to sing for the Savior because he concluded: “I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold; I’d rather be His than have riches untold; I’d rather have Jesus than houses or land; I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand. Than to be the king of a vast domain, or be held in sin’s dread sway, I’d rather have Jesus than anything this world affords today.”

I can only imagine that when George Beverly Shea walked through the gates of Glory and into the Lord’s presence, that King Jesus arose and said, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You were committed to the core and used your life resources to build My kingdom by standing for Me and singing for Me. Now, I’ll stand for you and welcome you into your eternal home!”

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