"MY JESUS, AS THOU WILT"
"Teach me to do Thy will; for Thou art my God" (Ps. 143.10)
INTRO.: A hymn which asks the Lord to help us know and do His will is "My Jesus, As Thou Wilt" (#101 in Hymns for Worship Revised and #57 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written by Benjamin Schmolke (sometimes spelled Schmolk), who was born at Brauchitzchdorf in Silesia, Germany, on Dec., 1672, the son of Martin Schmolke, a German Lutheran minister. After receiving his education at the Gymnasium of Lauban and the University of Leipzig, he also became a Lutheran minister in 1701. For a year, he served as an assistant to his father at Brauchitzchdorf and then, after marrying Anna Rosina, the daughter of a merchant in Labau on Feb. 12, 1702, he moved to work with the Friedenskirche at Schweidnitz where he remained for the last 35 years of his life. Credited with the authorship of over 900 hymns in more than a dozen collections, he first published this one in his 1704 hymnal Heilige Flammen der himmlisch gesinnten Seele. It is sometimes given as "My Savior, As Thou Wilt."
Under the terms of the Peace of Westphalia, all of the churches in Schmolke’s district were turned over to the Roman Catholics, and the Lutherans were subject to many restrictions. All the Lutheran churches were closed except the one at Schweidnitz. It met outside the walls of the city in a small timber and clay structure wihout tower or bells. Lutherans in 36 villages had to come there for worship. Schmolke was not even permitted to administer communion to the sick and dying without the consent of Catholic authorities. Hampered by such restrictions and exhausted by his strenuous labors, he began to suffer several paralytic strokes in 1730 which laid him up, bedridden and blind, for some years before he died at Schweidnitz on Feb. 12, 1737, the 35th anniversary of his wedding.
Schmolke’s only surviving hymn was translated into English by Jane Laurie Borthwick (1813-1897). The translation was probably made around in 1853 was first published the following year in a book, Hymns from the Land of Luther, which consisted of 114 translations of German hymns by Jane and her sister Sarah Borthwick Findlater. The tune (Jewett) is based on a melody by German Romantic opera composer Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826). It is taken from the familiar horn section of the overture to his opera Der Freischutz (The Huntsman or The Free Archer), completed in 1820. The hymn tune arrangement was made by Joseph Perry Holbrook (1822-1888). It was first published in Charles S. Robinson’s 1862 Songs of the Church, of Hymns and Tunes for Christian Worship.
Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, the song appeared in the 1921 Great Songs of the Church (No. 1) and the 1927 Great Songs of the Church No. 2 both edited by E. L. Jorgenson; the 1948 Christian Hymns No. 2, and the 1966 Christian Hymns No. 3 both edited by L. O. Sanderson; the 1963 Abiding Hymns edited by Robert C. Welch; and the 1966 Christian Hymnal edited by J. Nelson Slater. Today it may be found in the 1971 Songs of the Church, the 1990 Songs of the Church 21st C. Ed., and the 1994 Songs of Faith and Praise all edited by Alton H. Howard; the 1978/1983 Church Gospel Songs and Hymns edited by V. E. Howard; the 1986 Great Songs Revised edited by Forrest M. McCann; and the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; in addition to Hymns for Worship, Sacred Selections, and the 2007 Sacred Songs of the Church edited by William D. Jeffcoat.
This hymn expresses the attitude of submission to God’s will.
I. The first stanza says that in times of joy we must do God’s will
"My Jesus, as Thou wilt! O my Thy will be mine;
Into Thy hand of love I would my all resign;
Through sorrow and through joy, Conduct me as Thine own,
And help me still to say, ‘My Lord, Thy will be done.’"
A. Even when things are going well, we must not forget to delight in doing God’s will: Ps. 40.8
B.This means that we must resign everything into His hand of love: 2 Tim. 1.12
C. As a result, we will let Him conduct us as His own because we now belong to Him: 1 Cor. 6.19-20
II. The second stanza says that in times of need we must ask the Lord to teach us His will
"My Jesus, as Thou wilt! If needy here or poor,
Give me Thy people’s bread, Their portion rich and sure;
The manna of Thy word, Let my soul feed upon,
And, if all else should fail, ‘My Lord, Thy will be done.’"
A. It is when we are needy and poor that we most need to turn to the Lord and seek His will as did Jesus: Heb. 10.7
B. To do this, we must have the manna of His word: Jn. 6.31, 48-50, 63
C. Not only must we have this bread, we must also feed upon it: Mt. 5.8 (I once read an article by a gospel preacher who said something to the effect that if the last line of this stanza, "And, if all else should fail,’ My Lord, Thy will be done," is not unscriptural, then nothing is. Unfortunately, he did not explain why he believes that it is unscriptural. The fact is that we make our plans for our lives, but sometimes those plans fail. Yet, even then our attitude should still be, "Thy will be done.")
III. The third stanza says that in times of sorrow we must pray that God’s will be done
"My Jesus, as Thou wilt! Though seen through many a tear,
Let not my star of hope Grow dim or disappear;
Since Thou on earth hast wept And sorrowed oft alone,
If I must weep with Thee, ‘My Lord, Thy will be done.’"
A. Throughout our lives, we will have times when things are seen through tears: Acts 20.18-19
B. So we must look to the Lord to help keep our home from dimming or even disappearing: Rom. 8.24-25
C. And the way that we do this is by following the example of Jesus who wept on earth but still determined to see that God’s will was done: Mk. 14.36
IV. The fourth stanza says that in times of change we must seek to accomplish God’s will
"My Jesus, as Thou wilt! All shall be well with me;
Each changing future scene I gladly trust with Thee;
Straight to my home above, I travel calmly on,
And sing, in life, or death, ‘My Lord, Thy will be done.’"
A. Whatever happens in life, we should live in such a way that we can say that all is well with us by striving to understand the will of the Lord: Eph. 5.17
B. Then, we can trust each changing future scene with Him: Mt. 6.34
C. What will sustain through those changing future scenes is the assurance that God will enable us to travel to our home above: Mk. 10.29-30
CONCL.: After the decision to obey the gospel and accept God’s provisions for our salvation, the next most important decision is to continue living after God’s will, regardless of what the circumstances are or what the future may bring. At the same time, one o fhe hardest attitudes to maintain in time of adversity is following God’s will. Therefore, I need to be reminded that God can empower me to live victoriously for Him only as I have the attitude, "My Jesus, As Thou Wilt."