I’d Rather Have Jesus has been one of my favorite hymns for many years. Rhea Miller’s beautiful lyrics express the feelings of my own heart. I’ve always wanted to write my own arrangement of this hymn, and after attending The Creative Life conference last summer and launching Project 28 in my studio, that became one of my goals for this year. Although I’ve composed and arranged a variety of music over the years, the biggest challenge with this arrangement was that I determined not to notate anything, but to compose and play entirely by memory. For those who naturally memorize quickly and can play dozens of compositions with hardly a thought, that won’t seem like much, but for someone like me who has always struggled with memorization and playing by ear, I assure you it was no small feat! I am so grateful to God for giving me the ability to see this goal to completion.
A sweet friend recently encouraged me to put together a recording of it for her. If you watched our studio Christmas Recital you may have already seen my first performance of this, but I wanted to do a separate recording that would be easier to share with my friend. I hope it is a blessing to you!
Here are the lyrics:
I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands;
I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand.
Than to be the king of a vast domain
And be held in sin’s dread sway;
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.
I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause;
I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame;
I’d rather be true to His holy name.
He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;
He’s sweeter than honey from out the comb;
He’s all that my hungering spirit needs;
I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead.