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Must I Go, and Empty Handed: Songs of Revival

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"I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day:
the night cometh, when no man can work.” John 9:4

This hymn was penned not long after the Second Great Awakening by Charles Carroll Luther. He was a journalist and lay evangelist before being ordained as a Baptist minister in 1886. Though not a prolific composer, he authored this hymn in 1877 when he heard Reverend A.G. Upham relate the story of a young man who was about to die. This young man had been a Christian for only one month. Though thankful to the Lord for granting him salvation during his final hour, he was nevertheless grieved that he had no opportunity to serve the Lord nor to share Him with others. He explained, “I am not afraid to die; Jesus saves me now. But must I go empty-handed?” Upon hearing this account, Luther wrote this hymn. Charles Luther then handed his lyrics to George C. Stebbins who did a beautiful job conveying the heart’s cry of this lovely hymn into music.

And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Luke 10:2

Must I Go, and Empty Handed
"Must I go, and empty handed,"
Thus my dear Redeemer meet?
Not one day of service give Him,
Lay no trophy at His feet?

Chorus: "Must I go, and empty handed?"
Must I meet my Savior so?
Not one soul with which to greet Him,
Must I empty handed go?

Not at death I shrink or falter,
For my Savior saves me now;
But to meet Him empty handed,
Thought of that now clouds my brow.

O the years in sinning wasted,
Could I but recall them now,
I would give them to my Savior,
To His will I'd gladly bow.

O ye saints, arouse, be earnest,
Up and work while yet 'tis day;
Ere the night of death o'er take thee,
Strived for souls while still you may.

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Persistent Prayer
George Muller: Men and Women of Faith Series

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