Take My Life and Let It Be (Or: Kept for the Master’s Use)

Kept for the Master's Use by [Frances Ridley Havergal] Most of us know the hymn “Take My Life and Let It Be” by Frances Havergal. It’s a prayer that the Lord would use every part of our life for his glory and the good of other people.

Speaking of Havergal, at one point when B.B. Warfield was critiquing the “Victorious Life” movement of the early 20th century, he mentioned Havergal’s book “Kept for the Master’s Use” in a positive way.  One of the leading “Victorious Life” teachers, Charles Trumbull, tried to use the phrase “entrust to Him our trust” from Havergal to support his “Victorious Life” teaching.  Warfield basically said Trumbull was taking the phrase out of context: “He has been reading Miss Havergal, and Miss Havergal is as fundamentally evangelical in the main current of her thought as Mr. Trumbull is fundamentally unevangelical in the main current of his.”  Warfield then quoted a paragraph from Havergal’s book, Kept for the Master’s Use.  Here’s the quote – it is quite good!

If Christ’s keeping depends upon our trusting, and our continuing to trust depends upon ourselves, we are in no better or safer position than before, and shall only be landed in a fresh series of disappointments. The old story, something for the sinner to do, crops up again here, only with the ground shifted from ‘works’ to trust. Said a friend to me, ‘I see now! I did trust Jesus to do everything else for me, but I thought that this trusting was something that I had got to do.’  And so, what she ‘had got to do’ had been a perpetual effort and frequent failure. We can no more trust and keep on trusting than we can do anything else of ourselves.  Even in this, it must be ‘Jesus only’; we are not to look to him only to be the Author and Finisher of our faith, but we are to look to him for all the intermediate fulfilment of the work of faith (2 Thes. 1:11); we must ask him to go on fulfilling it in us, committing this even to his power.  For we both may and must / commit our very faith to him / entrust to him our trust.

There’s more to the discussion, of course.  And since Warfield quoted “Kept for the Master’s Use” favorably, I looked it up and started reading it.  It’s pretty good so far!  It’s basically a devotional on the six stanzas of Havergal’s hymn, “Take My Life.”  The language is a little dated, but so far it has made me really think about what it means to serve Christ, my Master.  You can find an inexpensive copy of “Kept for the Master’s Use” on Amazon (Kindle) or elsewhere online.

The above quote by Warfield is found in Warfield, Benjamin B. The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield: Perfectionism, Part Two. Vol. 8. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008, (page 578).

Shane Lems
Hammond, WI, 54002