We Give Thee But Thine Own

Representative Text

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 lone and fatherless
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 Christlike 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: Trinity Psalter Hymnal #185

Author: William Walsham How

William W. How (b. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England, 1823; d. Leenane, County Mayo, Ireland, 1897) studied at Wadham College, Oxford, and Durham University and was ordained in the Church of England in 1847. He served various congregations and became Suffragan Bishop in east London in 1879 and Bishop of Wakefield in 1888. Called both the "poor man's bishop" and "the children's bishop," How was known for his work among the destitute in the London slums and among the factory workers in west Yorkshire. He wrote a number of theological works about controversies surrounding the Oxford Movement and attempted to reconcile biblical creation with the theory of evolution. He was joint editor of Psalms and Hymns (1854) and Church Hymns (1871). While rec… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: We give Thee but Thine own
Title: We Give Thee But Thine Own
Author: William Walsham How (1858)
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


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 (51567)

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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