There is a song that at one time was frequently sung in our worship assemblies, but has recently fallen into disuse. The song is entitled, “None of Self and All of Thee”. This song is one in which all stanzas should be sung because of the story it tells. It is the story of one who stands defiantly before the Lord, seeking his own way. He proudly proclaims, “All of self and none of Thee”. As the song progresses, however, his demeanor softens to “Some of self and some of Thee” and, “Less of self and more of Thee”. In the final stanza the change is completed, and he humbly says, “None of self and all of Thee”.
One can only speculate why this song is no longer popular. It could be that many modern worshipers prefer the catchy tunes, made up of simple, repetitive phrases, that are so common today. However, it could also be that this song rings too true to real life for comfort. It is easier, after all, to sing upbeat praises about the love and grace of God than to admonish ourselves about the struggle to be faithful disciples. It is more pleasant to sing “happy” songs than to sing songs that remind us of the practicalities of putting God first in our lives.
There is a place in our worship for songs that convey every facet of our relationship to God, but we must not neglect those that call us to diligent service. When the Lord was asked what the greatest commandment was, He replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Mt. 22:37). This was not one of the Ten Commandments, but is a foundational principle that Moses taught the people of Israel as he led them toward the promised land (Deut. 6:5).
Nearly everyone will profess that they love God, but too often this profession means little more than an affection for Him. When Moses commanded Israel to love God with all their heart, soul, and mind, he defined it with a series of commands regarding their personal and daily devotion to Him (Deut. 6:6-9). They were to make God’s word the central feature of everything they did each day. Although the Lord did not go into the kind of detail that Moses did, He had the same principle in mind. Loving God with all one’s heart, soul, and mind means putting Him first in everything we do.
In practical terms, this is about how we use our time each day. As we allocate our time, do we fill it with God’s things, or do we fill it with our things? Personal Bible study and meditation on God’s word, prayer, worship, fellowship with other Christians, and sharing the good news are all things that demonstrate that we are putting God first in our lives. Doing these things does not detract from our physical responsibilities, but enhances our performance of these things. When we commit to a “none of self and all of thee” perspective, the Lord will bless our efforts in ways that the less committed will never enjoy.
Our Lord said that loving God with all one’s heart, soul, and mind is the greatest commandment. For this reason, we must make this our primary goal in life. To do so we must commit to the “none of self and all of thee” principle. Doing so requires the faith to trust in the Lord’s promise that He will take care of those who seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness (Mt. 6:33). How blessed our lives would be, and how much better the world would be, if each of us made this commitment! Then our lives, as well as our lips, would truthfully and joyously declare, “Higher than the highest heavens, deeper than the deepest sea, Lord, Thy love at last has conquered, None of self and all of Thee”.