Posted by: rcottrill | December 7, 2012

Tell It Again

Words: Mary Bridges Canedy Slade (b. Jan. 18, 1826; d. Apr. 15, 1882)
Music: Rigdon McCoy McIntosh (b. Apr. 3, 1836; d. July 2, 1899)

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: Mary Slade was born and lived her whole life in Fall River, Massachusetts. That town is notorious for another reason. It was there that Lizzie Borden (1860-1927) was tried and acquitted in 1892 of the brutal murder of her father and mother. Though Mrs. Slade died before this terrible incident occurred, she undoubtedly knew Lizzie and the family, since the town was not large.

Mary was a pastor’s wife. In addition to assisting her husband, she was a school teacher, and served as the assistant editor of the New England Journal of Education. A number of hymns also came from her pen.

Years ago, a missionary visited a dying boy in a gypsy camp in England. Bending over him, he recited the words of John 3:16, “God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (KJV). The dying boy listened, and faintly whispered, “Nobody ever told me.”

What a heart-rending word! We don’t know all the circumstances in that case, of course. But what a tragedy, to think that there are still some who have never heard the gospel of grace. And they’re not necessarily members of some remote tribe across the sea. There may be those in our own communities who have never had an opportunity to hear the good news.

Paul asks pointedly, “How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?” (Rom. 10:14). Mary Slade based this 1876 song on the incident described, challenging believers to tell the story of God’s great salvation far and wide.

CH-1) Into the tent where a gypsy boy lay,
Dying alone at the close of the day,
News of salvation we carried; said he:
“Nobody ever has told it to me!”

Tell it again! Tell it again!
Salvation’s story repeat o’er and o’er.
Till none can say of the children of men,
“Nobody ever has told me before.”

CH-2) “Did He so love me, a poor little boy?
Send unto me the good tidings of joy?
Need I not perish? My hand will He hold?
Nobody ever the story has told!”

This urgent call to action is rooted in what we call the Great Commission. It is found, or alluded to in some form in all four Gospels, and in the book of Acts.

Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:18-20).

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature [i.e. all humanity]” (Mk. 16:15).

Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things” (Lk. 24:46-48).

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain….As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (Jn. 15:16; 20:21).

“You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

Other passages echo a similar theme.

“We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God….We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain” (II Cor. 5:20; 6:1).

Not all are gifted to be career evangelists (cf. Eph. 4:11). But we can tell others what the Lord means to us personally. The Bible exhorts us to be ready to give an answer to those who ask us the basis for our hope (I Pet. 3:15; cf. Jn. 1:35-49, noting the actions of Andrew and Philip).

CH-4) Smiling he said, as his last sigh he spent,
“I am so glad that for me He was sent!”
Whispered, while low sunk the sun in the west,
“Lord, I believe, tell it now to the rest!”

1) Is there someone you spoke to about the Lord during the past week? Are you praying for the Holy Spirit to use that encounter? (And how might you follow it up?)

2) How can your church reach out to those within your reach who might otherwise say, “Nobody ever told me”?

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


%d bloggers like this: