WITH THE LORD BEGIN YOUR TASK
You can listen to the devotion here.
In the Name of the Father, and (+) of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Devotion based on With the Lord Begin Your Task (LSB 869)
1 With the Lord begin your task;
Jesus will direct it.
For His aid and counsel ask;
Jesus will perfect it.
Ev’ry morn with Jesus rise,
And when day is ended,
In His name then close your eyes;
Be to Him commended.
2 Let each day begin with prayer,
Praise, and adoration.
On the Lord cast ev’ry care;
He is your salvation.
Morning, evening, and at night
Jesus will be near you,
Save you from the tempter’s might,
With His presence cheer you.
3 With your Savior at your side,
Foes need not alarm you;
In His promises confide,
And no ill can harm you.
All your trust and hope repose
In the mighty Master,
Who in wisdom truly knows
How to stem disaster.
4 If your task be thus begun
With the Savior’s blessing,
Safely then your course will run,
Toward the promise pressing.
Good will follow ev’rywhere
While you here must wander;
You at last the joy will share
In the mansions yonder.
5 Thus, Lord Jesus, ev’ry task
Be to You commended;
May Your will be done, I ask,
Until life is ended.
Jesus, in Your name begun
Be the day’s endeavor;
Grant that it may well be done
To Your praise forever.
You can listen to the hymn here.
I just became familiar with this hymn recently and I thought it was a perfect hymn to begin our week with. The passage from Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” is perfectly reflected in this hymn. It is good hymn to come back to as you get ready for a work week or workday.
The hymn commentary for today comes from Pastor Robert Mayes as found in the Lutheran Service Book Companion to the Hymns Volume 1.
This hymn was written in Waldenburg, Germany around 1732. Unlike many older hymns in common use today, this one did not enjoy wide circulation during the nineteenth century. Waldenburg, though, has a special connection to Missouri Synod, for it was in a small village near there where both father and the grandfather of C.F.W. Walther, the synod’s first president, served as pastor. Though evidence is lacking, it is not inconceivable that this connection caused Walther to include the hymn in the synod’s first hymnal.
“With the Lord Begin Your Work” invokes the Lord’s blessing on the Christian’s vocation at the start of each day. In the Synod’s nineteenth-century German hymnal, this hymn was placed in the category of “Estate and Vocation Hymns.”
In the first stanza, Christians are encouraged to begin their day with Jesus. This is a routine to be followed every day, like the morning devotion in the Small Catechism, after which Luther instructs, “go joyfully to your work, singing a hymn, like that of the Ten Commandments, or whatever your devotion may suggest.” Stanza 1 says, “Every morn with Jesus rise, and when day is ended, in His name then close your eyes.” Scripture often connects death and sleep (see Matthew 9:24; 27:52; 1 Corinthians 15:20), and the Christian’s daily going to sleep at night and rising again in the morning has a parallel in one’s daily remembrance of Baptism, in which Christians die to sin and rise with Christ to newness of life.
Daily prayer is emphasized in stanza 2 (see 1 Thessalonians 5:17; Psalm 5:3). We can cast every care on the Lord, for we are directed to do so in 1 Peter 5:6-7: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” Prayer is effective not in a therapeutic sense, simply because it is done, but because it is directed to a God who hears and answers it. As Bernhard Albrecht, a pastor in Augsburg wrote in 1618, prayer should be “the most precious and best treasure of the love of Christianity, the highest comfort in all needs, the strongest defense in all danger, the certain medicine in sickness.”
Stanzas 3 and 4 speak of the Christian’s daily protection with Jesus. Neither enemies, sickness, disaster, nor daily events can undo the Savior’s blessing: “Good will follow everywhere while you here must wander” (stanza 4). The last stanza summarizes the hymn and directs that every task be subject to Jesus’ blessing as we pray that His will be done this day and for the rest of our lives.
I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray that You would keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.
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