Behind the Song: The Longer I Serve Him {The Sweeter He Grows}

This week this song has played through my heart and mind over and over again.  I have performed this song numerous times over the years, but this week the song has ministered to me.

The song was written by Bill and Gloria Gaither.  This well-known couple have written numerous Southern Gospel songs of our day including Because He Lives, He Touched Me, I Believe in a Hill Called Mt. Calvary, The King is Coming, The Old Rugged Cross Made the Difference and Something Beautiful to name just a few. Longer I Serve Him

In the book Something Beautiful: The Stories Behind a Half-Century of the Songs of Bill and Gloria Gaither, Gloria Gaither beautifully tells the story and inspiration behind this song.

Bill Gaither’s grandmother, “Mom” Hartwell, was an inspiration to not only her family but all those that knew and loved her.

Gaither shares that as “Mom” Hartwell neared the end of her life, she would sing songs to God.  Often she would sing, “Oh, He is so precious to me” or whisper, “How good he is. Jesus.”

As the end drew near, Bill Gaither asked her, “has it been worth it, serving Jesus all these years?”

Gaither explains, “She looked at him with that Irish twinkle in her still snappy brown eyes.  “Billy,” she said, “the longer I serve Him, the sweeter He grows.”  Not long after that, still forming the name of Jesus with her lips, she slipped out of our arms and into His.”

This sweet and godly lady provided the inspiration for this song that has been running through my heart and head this week.

Gaither ends by saying, “It was published with the title “The Longer I Serve Him,” but for Bill and me it will always be “The Last Will and Testament of Mom Hartwell.”  It was all she had to leave us, but we know we have inherited great wealth.”

What a wonderful inheritance to receive from this beloved grandmother.

How has He gotten sweeter for you over the years?  What inheritance are you leaving your family regarding a walk of faith?