by Lindsay Terry
Song: "More Precious than Silver"
Lynn DeShazzo, one of our most prolific composers of praise choruses, was born to Thomas and Bettie DeShazo in Birmingham, Alabama in 1956. She developed a love for music at an early age, learning to play the guitar by age eleven.
In her teen years she wanted desperately to improve her music ability and tried to do so by playing her guitar along with songs she heard on the radio. Although she yielded her heart to Christ before reaching her 12th birthday, praise and worship music did not have a great deal of meaning to her until much later.
In her first year at Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, she developed a desire to write Christian songs-songs that would be expressions of her heart to the Lord and that would be meaningful to people who heard them. Those first efforts at songwriting were seemingly quite meager, and yet people responded very positively. She was greatly encouraged by their attitudes toward her first unpublished songs.
After graduation, in 1978, with a degree in recreation administration, she took a job at McDonald's -not the most likely place for an Auburn alumni to work-yet, it provided for her livelihood during the first months following graduation. She also learned very valuable spiritual lessons as she continued her involvement with a campus church at Auburn called Maranatha Ministries.
After learning that Christians should occasionally fast, and that fasting was a Scriptural method of spiritual growth and accomplishment, she found herself one Wednesday in a precarious situation. Her boss at McDonald's had assigned her to "fry duty," the task of cooking the french fries. It just happened to be a day of fasting for her. Well, needless to say, the battle was on!
The fries smelled oh, so good!! As the day wore on, her hunger made the breaking of her fast, by eating only a couple of those french fries, pale into insignificance. After looking around to make sure that no one would see her, she slipped a few fries into her mouth. At that moment she was almost overcome with guilt-guilt that she declared to me was twofold: She knew that she had broken her fast and that she had done it with stolen french fries.
After work that day, and as soon as she could get alone with the Lord, she earnestly asked His forgiveness for breaking her fast and for taking something that did not belong to her. She was led to Colossians, chapter 2, and particularly to verse 3, where she found that in Christ are the hidden "treasures of wisdom and knowledge." She also went to Proverbs chapter 8, which reveals that there are spiritual things that are of more value than silver and gold or precious jewels, and that the earthly things we often desire are "not to be compared with it."
She had her guitar with her and as she began to play the Lord dropped a song into her heart-like a day spring from on high: "More Precious than Silver." In the lyrics she also expresses the beautify and magnificence of our Lord as more costly and more beautiful than gold or diamonds, finally declaring that nothing that might be desirable to us compares to Him.
At that moment she felt so blessed. As the guilt had been twofold, so too was the blessing. She was overtaken with the joy of God's forgiveness and the excitement of His gift-a beautiful song.
She shared "More Precious than Silver" with the worship leader of her campus church, Mark Vosel. He rejoiced in it and used it in subsequent worship services. She related how Mark had been a great encouragement, and had urged her to continue in her songwriting.
Her song soon began to be sung in other places, places such as Christ for the Nations, a Christian college in Dallas, Texas. The students loved it and began sharing it in services where they had opportunity to minister. It soon was being sung far and wide.
It was published by Integrity Music in 1982, and was presented on their fifth recording, "Glory to the King," in 1986. Lynn has been a staff writer for Integrity Music since 1989.
"More Precious than Silver" has since been translated into several languages and continues to be sung in other counties as well as in the United States. It ranks very high on the list of popular praise choruses.
In 1981, Lynn moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she worked with the Information Services Department of the University of Michigan Medical School. She returned to Birmingham in the fall of 1989, and at that time signed a contract with Integrity Music as a staff writer.
She continues to write songs and to travel as a guest worship leader in churches, conferences, and women's ministries. She has written more than 300 songs, many of which appear in several music books and collections of choral arrangements. To date she has produced seven recordings of her own music. Her second most-requested song is "Be Magnified." Other popular songs she has written include, "Lead Me to the Rock," "Turn My Heart", and "In Your Presence, O God." When she is not on the road ministering in other cities, she is very active on the worship team in her present home church, Liberty Church in Hoover, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham.
Reflection: When things seem to be going a bit sideways, examine yourself to see if the greatest longing of your heart compares with the One who is more precious than silver, more costly than gold, and more beautiful than diamonds. You might also check your heart to see if there is anything you desire that, in your estimation, compares with Him.
Lindsay Terry has been a song historian for more than 40 years, being published
in a number of publications, including Pulpit Helps. He has also written
some 34 books and church training manuals.