Hymns & Songs

To give as God has given

Aug 2013    

SOME CHURCHES celebrate Pledge Sunday this month, where members commit to giving God a portion of their income in the new financial year. Are there any hymns we can sing to reflect this spirit of joyful giving?

Here is a hymn written in 1961 by the Rev Robert L. Edwards, an American Congregational minister. Among the many hymns the Rev Edwards composed, “God Whose Giving Knows No Ending” is the most famous.

The hymn begins with a strong statement that God’s giving is endless. His grace is abundant! This is manifested in His gift of creation and our salvation through Jesus Christ, His only Son. In response, we offer our praise and thanksgiving through our song.

The second and third stanzas remind us that our gifts of skills and time are for us to use, not for ourselves but for the advancement of the kingdom of God. The hymn brings to mind Jesus’ teaching about wealth in Luke 12:13-21.

It may be interesting to compare this hymn with John Wesley’s teaching on stewardship. Wesley preached “Gain more, save more, give more!” These three principles were paramount to Wesley’s teaching on observing good stewardship. Wesley teaches that gaining and saving without going further does not make sense. He entreats us to take a step further and “give more”.

God the Creator and giver of all has placed us here on earth to be good stewards (Genesis 1:28). To Wesley, good stewardship means “employ whatever God has entrusted you with, in doing good, all possible good, in every possible kind and degree to the household of faith, to all men!”

For some congregations, it may not be a practice to sing a hymn during offertory, but I think it will be the most appropriate time to sing this hymn, especially during times when we choose to give back to God what He has abundantly given us.

God Whose Giving Knows No Ending

God whose giving knows no ending,
From Your rich and endless store:
Nature’s wonder, Jesus’ wisdom
Costly Cross, grave’s shattered door,
Gifted by You, we turn to You,
Offering up ourselves in praise;
Thankful song shall rise forever,
Gracious donor of our days.

Skills and time are ours for pressing
Toward the goals of Christ, Your Son:
All at peace in health and freedom,
Races joined the Church made one.
Now direct our daily labour,
Lest we strive for self alone;
Born with talents, make us servants,
Fit to answer at Your throne.

Treasure, too, You have entrusted,
Gain through powers Your grace conferred;
Ours to use for home and kindred,
And to spread the Gospel Word.
Open wide our hands in sharing,
As we heed Christ’s ageless call,
Healing, teaching, and reclaiming,
Serving You by loving all.

 

Text: Robert L. Edwards (1961)
Music: BEACH SPRING (UMH 605) or
HYFRYDOL (UMH 196 or 648)

Judith Mosomos is a Lecturer in Church Music at the Methodist School of Music.

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