We Give Thee But Thine Own

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1 We give thee but thine own,
whate'er the gift may be;
all that we have is thine alone,
a trust, O Lord, from thee.

2 May we thy bounties thus
as stewards true receive,
and gladly, as thou blessest us,
to thee our first-fruits give.

3 To comfort and to bless,
to find a balm for woe,
to tend the lonely in distress,
is angels' work below.

4 The captive to release,
to God the lost to bring,
to teach the way of life and peace -
it is a Christ-like thing.

5 And we believe thy Word,
though dim our faith may be;
whate'er for thine we do, O Lord,
we do it unto thee.

Source: Lift Up Your Hearts: psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs #877

Author: William Walsham How

How, William Walsham, D.D., son of William Wybergh How, Solicitor, Shrewsbury, was born Dec. 13, 1823, at Shrewsbury, and educated at Shrewsbury School and Wadham College, Oxford (B.A. 1845). Taking Holy Orders in 1846, he became successively Curate of St. George's, Kidderminster, 1846; and of Holy Cross, Shrewsbury, 1848. In 1851 he was preferred to the Rectory of Whittington, Diocese of St. Asaph, becoming Rural Dean in 1853, and Hon. Canon of the Cathedral in 1860. In 1879 he was appointed Rector of St. Andrew's Undershaft, London, and was consecrated Suffragan Bishop for East London, under the title of the Bishop of Bedford, and in 1888 Bishop of Wakefield. Bishop How is the author of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge Commen… Go to person page >


Scripture References:
st. 1 = 1 Chron, 29:14, 1 Peter 4:10
st. 2 = Deut. 26:1-5
st. 3-4 = Matt. 25:35-40

When he wrote this hymn, Bishop William W. How (PHH 279) appended a reference to Proverbs 19:17: "Whoever has pity on the poor lends to the Lord"–a Scripture that characterizes not only this hymn text but also much of How's ministry to the poor in the east side of London, England.

“We Give You But Your Own” is a hymn about stewardship, about bringing our gifts to be used for the church's ministry of word and deed to needy people–in other Words, our ministry for Christ. Like Psalm 50 and Isaiah 1, this text declares that everything in creation already belongs to God and that what we give and what we keep are all to be used gratefully in God's service (st. 5). See also 294.

How wrote the text in six stanzas in 1858; it was first published in Psalms and Hymns (2nd ed., 1864), edited by How and Thomas B. Morrell. The Psalter Hymnal omits How's original stanza 3 and includes many alterations to the text.

Liturgical Use:
As an offertory hymn (st. 1 and 2 also make a fine choral response at the offertory, but do not overuse); as a post-sermon hymn in conjunction with stewardship themes.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook
We give thee but Thine own. Bishop W. W. How. [Offertory.] Written about 1858, and first published in the enlarged edition of Morrell & How’s Psalms & Hymns, 1864, No. 197, in 6 stanzas of 4 lines. From thence it has passed into numerous collections, and now ranks in popularity with some of the best of modern hymns. Of the author's compositions in extensiveness of use it is exceeded only by his "For all Thy Saints who from their labours rest." Original text, Church Hymns 1871. The doxology in Hymns Ancient & Modern and others is an addition.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



SCHUMANN is one of many hymn tunes arranged by Lowell Mason (PHH 96). He first published the arrangement in Cantica Laudis (1850), a collection he edited with George J. Webb (PHH 559). First called WHITE, the tune was marked "Arr. from Schumann" and was thus ascribed to the German composer Robert A.…

Go to tune page >

ST. ANDREW (Barnby)



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