Contributor Two Contributor Two
"Jesus, You're The Center Of My Joy"
Contributor Two Contributor Two
"Jesus, You're the Center of My Joy"
Jesus, You’re the center of my joy;
All that’s good and perfect comes from You.
You’re the heart of my contentment,
Hope for all I do;
Jesus, You’re the center of my joy.

When I’ve lost my direction,
You’re the compass for my way;
You’re the fire and light when nights are long and cold.
In sadness You’re the laughter
That shadows all my fears;
When I’m all alone, Your hand is there to hold.

You are why I find pleasure In the simple things in life;
You’re the music in the meadows and the streams.
The voices of the children, My family and my home,
You’re the source and finish of my highest dreams.

Jesus, You’re the center of my joy;
All that’s good and perfect comes from You.
You’re the heart of my contentment, hope for all I do;
Jesus, You’re the center of my joy.

Lyric: Gloria Gaither / Music: William J. Gaither and Richard Smallwood / Copyright © 1987


Bill and I have received many awards for our music and writing. We never cease to be amazed when a song that came out of the reality of our lives and everyday walk with God connects with fellow pilgrims who find hope and encouragement from it on the way. Awards seem somehow out of place for such a process, yet we are always grateful and honored when they come.

The one award in our trophy case that is to me among the most treasured is the Stellar Award, given for the Black Gospel Song of the Year, for “Jesus, You’re the Center of My Joy,” which we wrote with Richard Smallwood, a fine musician and songwriter.

The song itself began for Bill one day in Nashville when he and Richard got together to write some music. For me it began when Bill handed me a tape and said, “Can you write lyrics to this melody?”

I listened to their melody for the verse and thought of “all that’s good and perfect” in our lives, the things worth dying — and living — to keep. They are the simple things, the gentle things, yet the things that seem to be threatened the most when we get our priorities out of order.

As I wrote and considered life as God had ordered it in His Word and by the teaching and example of Jesus, I had to conclude that, indeed, all that God puts in our lives is always whole, perfect and good. It is what we do to distort God’s gifts that brings pain, dissatisfaction, unrest, bitterness and a hunger that gnaws at our souls.

Relationships that are honest, pure, enriching and true are the greatest of all treasures we can know in this life. But our fallen nature gets in the way and destroys the very things we need and treasure so much. Only relationships redeemed by grace can dare to love, trust, forgive, accept, give the benefit of the doubt, go the second mile and relinquish paralyzing control. Only the cross can pry loose the strangling grip of selfishness from the neck of our relationships and let the breath of God flow into the hidden interiors of our marriages, our home lives and our friendships.

Beauty comes from God. All that is beautiful and unspoiled in nature is the work of His hand. All that is created by the artist, the decorator, the architect, the musician, the writer, the landscaper, the craftsman — all that is aesthetically comforting to the soul — is schooled by the laws of the Creator who made light and shadow, mountain and plains, color and texture, sound and the instrument that can hear it.

In this world, it is easy to lose our focus, break loose from our moorings, be sidetracked by the artificial trappings of our culture. But God always offers a way back to the center where joy lives.

There have been times when, even trying to do God’s work, we have let other things take center stage in our lives. Often others would consider those things to be “ministry.”

But Jesus must be our joy center. When He is, we get joy from everything that is good. When He’s not the center of our joy, we get jaded; we become cynical even about God-things, and our joy in everything drains away.

Lord, save us from seeking anything except You. Check our spirits when we seek Your work, Your will, Your gifts, or Your attributes. Remind us constantly that when we have You—a deep, growing, abiding relationship with You—all things will be added to our lives without our even noticing. This day we do not ask You to bless what we are doing. We do ask that You reveal to us what You are doing and let us be a part of it. That, we know, will place us in the joy center of the universe. Amen.