We lose what on ourselves we spend

Thinking about living beautifully and well, the words of this hymn stood out to me when we sang it last Sunday. Peaceful homes and healthful days - as good a summary as any of what we all want - are indeed treasures, but we can't keep them, not least because we live in a world undone. Curious, I looked up the hymn and found it was written by Christopher Wordsworth (1807 - 1885), nephew of the much more famous William. Later in a splendid ecclesiastical career Christopher became Bishop of Lincoln, but one of his first posts was University Orator at Cambridge - a job George Herbert had roughly two centuries before him. There is something Herbertesque in this hymn's strange rhythm and homely idiom. Herbert would certainly have agreed that we lose what on ourselves we spend, though, like me, I think he would have found the move from the affirmations of the first three stanzas to those of the final two hard - and lifelong - work.                   

O Lord of heaven and earth and sea,     
To Thee all praise and glory be.
How shall we show our love to Thee,     
Who givest all?

The golden sunshine, vernal air,     
Sweet flowers and fruit, Thy love declare.
When harvests ripen, Thou art there,     
Who givest all.

For peaceful homes and healthful days,
For all the blessings earth displays,     
We owe Thee thankfulness and praise,
Who givest all.

Thou didst not spare Thine only Son,     
But gav'st Him for a world undone,
And freely with that Blessed One     
Thou givest all.   

For souls redeemed, for sins forgiven,   
For means of grace and hopes of heaven,   
What can to Thee, O Lord, be given   
Who givest all?

We lose what on ourselves we spend;   
We have as treasure without end   
Whatever Lord, to Thee we lend,
Who givest all.   

To Thee, from whom we all derive   
Our life, our gifts, our power to give. 
Oh, may we ever with Thee live, 
Who givest all!