I SURRENDER ALL written in 1896
I can’t imagine there has ever – EVER – been a song sung as often as this one has without those singing it really meaning what they’re singing.
In the moment, and in the emotion, those singing it probably meant it… or maybe they meant it concerning their current situation but not for all the future opportunities that surrender might mean.
Judson W. Van DeVenter (1855-1939), the author of this hymn, meant it. He was a school teacher by profession, but an artist at heart. Teaching school allowed him to make a living while he continued his study of drawing and painting. After evangelistic meetings in his church, friends saw his gifts in counseling and working with people and encouraged him to become an evangelist. For 5 years, he wavered between his love of art and what seemed to be God’s calling to evangelistic ministry.
He later remembered: “At last the pivotal hour of my life came and I surrendered all. A new day was ushered into my life. I became an evangelist and discovered deep down in my soul a talent hitherto unknown to me.” A few years later, Judson, remembering that decisive moment, wrote this hymn.
Judson’s words were put to music by Winfield S. Weeden (1847-1908), who published this hymn. He loved this hymn so much the words “I Surrender All” were put on his tombstone.
Since this hymn was first published, it has appeared in almost every hymnal since… and is sung just as often in many churches that do not use hymnals.
Read this hymn, and examine how much of yourself you have surrendered to God.
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. (Refrain)
All to Jesus I surrender, make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
let me feel the Holy Spirit, truly know that Thou art mine. (Refrain)
All to Jesus I surrender, Lord, I give myself to Thee;
fill me with Thy love and power, let Thy blessing fall on me. (Refrain)
All to Jesus I surrender, now I feel the sacred flame;
Oh, the joy of full salvation! Glory, glory, to His Name! (Refrain)