Go Tell It on the Mountain

Day 12: I Surrender All

2 Chronicles 30:6-9, Psalm 116:12-19, Matthew 16:24-28,  Acts 21:10-14, Romans 12:1-2, Titus 2:11-14


Though he’d grown up a simple Michigan farm boy, Judson Van DeVenter always loved the arts, especially painting and music. He eventually pursued his artistic dreams at the collegiate level, and after graduation moved to Pennsylvania, where he immediately took up a position as an art teacher.

As a young adult he was able to venture out on a tour of some of Europe’s finest galleries, taking in great masterpieces and refining his own painterly skills. Some said he had the makings of a truly exceptional artist, poised to take his place among the greats.

Judson had been a devout believer since his youth, and as an adult, he became active in the music ministry at his church. Though he’d always loved being an artist, the tug of ministry life proved a real struggle for him. God had all along been wooing him to full-time ministry, and it seemed that his hope of a life of artistic influence would have to go. After years of struggle, Judson knelt in prayer, saying, “I surrender all to Thee.” Years later, he penned the hymn inspired by this pivotal moment of calling.

From this patient life of submission, God brought forth much fruit—not only through the impact of this famous American hymn, but also through Judson’s ongoing service at Florida Bible Institute, where a young Billy Graham was inspired by Judson’s ministry.

As in Judson’s life, the gentle moving of God’s Spirit often works by ordinary means to affect in us extraordinary surrender. May our hearts, quickened by His Spirit, be conformed to His likeness, molded by His love, and enlivened by His power, that we may rest on nothing of our own, but surrender all to Him.

essay by Caleb Faires

I Surrender All
by Judson W. Van DeVenter

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,
Make my, Savior, wholly Thine;
Let me feel Thy 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. 

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