Monday, June 19, 2017

"He is so precious to me."


Hymn: “He Is So Precious to Me” – Words & Music by Charles H. Gabriel (1856-1932)
Tune: PRECIOUS TO ME

If you didn’t grow up ‘rural,’ you may not be familiar with this one!

The word precious conjures up different responses from each of us. Our mind goes to words like costly, expensive… even priceless. You might even think of cher – the French word, not the singer – which translates to our word dear. It is most often applied to jewels and metals: precious rubies, precious gold, etc. In a contemporary chorus, we sing, Lord, you are more precious than silver… gold… diamonds.

In The Lord of the Rings, Gollum refers to the ring as “my precious,” In his case, he had a love/hate relationship with the thing he called precious; having lost it to Bilbo Baggins, he spent the rest of his days trying to retrieve it. Those of us who saw the film versions can still hear that guttural whispered speaking of “my precious.”

I hate to admit this, but this was what my mama called me: Precious! It was like her pet-name for me. When I was in trouble, peering over her glasses with furrows on her brow, she called me by my full name: Ronald George Huff. But most of the time, she called me Precious. When I was a kid, I hated it… especially in front of friends and family members – those loved ones from a few days ago!

Over time, her calling me that became precious to me because I grew to understand the deeper meaning of the word; I was of great value to her, and she expressed it with a word which communicated her affection in a much sweeter way than calling me “O Valuable One”!

So this old gospel song by Charles H. Gabriel (who is said to have written over 7,000 hymns/songs for the church), speaks to me on several levels. It brings back memories of singing it in my childhood, it reminds me of my mama, and it prompts me to express to Christ how dear he is to me – how valuable.
In case you haven’t sung it in a while, here is more of the text that leads to the refrain:
            So precious is Jesus, my Savior and King,
            His praise all the day long with rapture I sing.
            To him in my weakness for strength I can cling,
            For he is so precious to me.

            He stood at my heart’s door in sunshine and rain,
            And patiently waited an entrance to gain.
            What shame that so long he entreated in vain,
            For he is so precious to me.

More so than silver or gold, diamond or ruby, or sought-after ring, ‘Tis heaven below my Redeemer to know, for he is so precious to me.

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