I GAVE MY LIFE FOR THEE                                                          written in 1871

 The Story

Frances Havergal (1836-1879) was 22 years old when she was traveling in Europe with friends. In Dusseldorf, Germany, she visited an art gallery. At one point, she sat down to rest… and found herself in front of a painting titled Ecco Homo by Sternberg. It was a painting of Christ on the cross, and under it were the words, “This have I done for thee; what hast thou done for Me?”

Tears came to her eyes as she thought of those words. The words of a possible hymn came to her, and she wrote them down with a pencil on a scrap piece of paper. When she got back to England, she read the poem she had written and thought the poetry in it was bad. She tossed that piece of paper into a stove.

Though the paper was scorched, it didn’t make it all the way into the flames; instead, it floated away from the heat and onto the floor. That’s where Frances’ father later found it. He liked the poem… and encouraged her to write a few more verses to add to it.

Those verses became this hymn. It was the first hymn she would write, but not her last; it was written in 1858, but was not published until 1871 (by Philip Bliss, another writer of several hymns). And ever since then, the Church has been singing her hymns.

The Song

Read this hymn, and – today – ask yourself the same question this hymns asks you. 

I gave My life for thee, My precious blood I shed,
that thou might ransomed be, and raised up from the dead.
I gave, I gave My life for thee, what hast thou given for Me?
I gave, I gave My life for thee, what hast thou given for Me?

My Father’s house of light, My glory circled throne
I left for earthly night, for wanderings sad and lone.
I left, I left it all for thee, hast thou left aught for Me?
I left, I left it all for thee, hast thou left aught for Me?

I suffered much for thee, more than thy tongue can tell,
of bitterest agony, to rescue thee from hell.
I’ve borne, I’ve borne it all for thee, what hast thou borne for Me?
I’ve borne, I’ve borne it all for thee, what hast thou borne for Me?

And I have brought to thee, down from My home above,
salvation full and free, My pardon and My love;
I bring, I bring rich gifts to thee, what hast thou brought to Me?
I bring, I bring rich gifts to thee, what hast thou brought to Me?

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