Judson VanDeVenter isn’t exactly a household name.   Born in 1855, he was employed as an art teacher in the public schools of Pennsylvania.   As he advanced in his art career, something began to stir in his heart.  He believed that God might be calling him into full time ministry.   But art was his first love and he struggled with giving up his dreams.  At what Judson himself called “a pivotal hour”,  he surrendered everything to the will of God and started a new journey into evangelistic work.  A short time later, he penned the words to this well-known and moving hymn.   He wrote some other songs, but none matched the power and widespread influence of this one.

I’m sure that at that moment of surrender, he had no idea that his obedience and the subsequent work of God in his life would result in music and lyrics that would move the hearts of Christians for generations to come. It’s a lesson for us.  We should not take moments like that lightly in our own lives.  God could take a seemingly random moment of choice –  and use that choice to glorify Himself in ways that we couldn’t have dreamed up if we tried. Sometimes our obedience isn’t just for our benefit.  God might have a plan to use our experiences and choices to bless and encourage others  No, Judson VanDeVenter isn’t a household name.  But chances are, you have sung his song.  And chances are, it has made you think about obedience, choices…and the blessings of surrendering all.

I Surrender All

All to Jesus, I surrender;
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.


I surrender all, I surrender all,
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender;
Humbly at His feet I bow,
Worldly pleasures all forsaken;
Take me, Jesus, take me now.

All to Jesus, I surrender;
Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
Let me feel the Holy Spirit,
Truly know that Thou art mine.

All to Jesus, I surrender;
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power;
Let Thy blessing fall on me.

All to Jesus I surrender;
Now I feel the sacred flame.
O the joy of full salvation!
Glory, glory, to His Name!

“For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.”  Luke 9:24