In a recent worship service, our church sang the hymn When I Survey the Wondrous Cross; first published by Isaac Watts in 1707. As we sang, I was struck by the implications on my own soul as a leader. It is especially helpful to me in this season where as a leader in a publishing company, I also lead in church ministry, and I am publishing a book early next year. The Lord has been gracious to allow me to have influence in several realms from family to local church to beyond. The question the hymn posed to me as we sang was deep: Will you give up everything, your pride, your need to be noticed, and the whole world for the cross of Jesus?
I hope my answer will always be “yes.” As leaders in the church, we are faced with with everything from the distractions of the daily work to sinful temptations that fill our world. We must not allow any circumstance to fill our field of vision more than Christ and His work on the cross. Otherwise, our pride will puff up and we will be convinced, like Nebuchadnezzar, that we have built all of this by our own hands (Daniel 4:30). It is the better way to allow prideful sin to die and hold on to nothing but Christ.
I know that my flesh will rebel and my mind will wander. I think this will likely be a song that I need to find myself singing oftentimes as the world spins on around me.
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.
See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spreads o’er His body on the tree;
Then I am dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
To Christ, who won for sinners grace
By bitter grief and anguish sore,
Be praise from all the ransomed race
Forever and forevermore.
Lyric source: Hymntime