Carl Harold Lowden was born in 1883, began writing songs when he was twelve, and sold them to the Hall-Mack Co. When he was just a teenager, he conducted the church orchestra. After being employed by several music publishers, he went into business for himself, but it failed due to the Great Depression. He then taught at the Bible Institute of Pennsylvania, which is now called Philadelphia College of the Bible. He also served as minister of music at Linden Baptist Church in Camden, New Jersey.
In 1915 he wrote a popular gospel song for children’s services. Lowden wasn’t really satisfied with it, so he mailed a copy of the music to poet Thomas Chisholm and asked him to write words for the tune. He suggested that the title should be “Living for Jesus.” In a couple of days, Chisholm returned the music to Lowden and told him he “didn’t have the slightest idea as to the method used in writing words to music.” He’d never written words for an existing tune but always sent his poems to composers to set his words to music. This seemed to be an impossible task for him. Immediately Lowden returned the music and told Chisholm that he believed that God had chosen him to write the poem and suggested that Chisholm permit God to write the poem. Chisholm finally agreed, but because he couldn’t read music, his daughter had to hum the tune repeatedly until he knew it well enough to write fitting words. In a couple of weeks, the song was completed, and in 1917, it was published in Lowden’s book, “Uplifting Songs.” Over one million copies were sold in sheet music form; it has appeared in over one hundred hymnals and has been translated into many languages and dialects.
Chisholm had various jobs: a teacher, newspaper editor, insurance agent, and minister. He suffered from poor health throughout much of his 94 years. His love for writing poetry, which began when he was young, resulted in many hymns and gospel songs; a favorite of many is “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” He said, “I have desired that each hymn or poem might have some definite message to the hearts for whom it was written.”
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). This verse is the theme of this song written very well by a man who knew he was inadequate and needed the Lord’s guidance. The refrain beautifully expresses a personal commitment to living totally for Christ because of what He did for lost sinners. This thinking doesn’t reflect the motivation of most people, but for the Christian, the goal is to fully surrender one’s life to Christ.
Striving to please him in all that I do,
Yielding allegiance, glad hearted and free,
This is the pathway of blessing for me.
For thou, in thy atonement, Didst give thyself for me;
I own no other Master, My heart shall be thy throne,
My life I give, henceforth to live, O Christ, for thee alone.
Bearing on Calv’ry my sin and disgrace,
Such love constrains me to answer his call,
Follow his leading and give him my all.
Doing each duty in his holy name,
Willing to suffer affliction and loss,
Deeming each trial a part of my cross.
My dearest treasure, the light of his smile,
Seeking the lost ones he died to redeem,
Bringing the weary to find rest in him.
All rights reserved. Without the express written permission of the publisher, this publication may not be reproduced or transmitted, whether in whole or in part, in any form or by any means - electronic, mechanical, photocopy, storage retrieval system, recording, or any other.