Wayne S. Walker

“…Who will go?…Then I said, Here am I; send me” (Isa. 6.8)

     INTRO.:  A hymn which encourages us to us to do the Lord’s will with
a sincere heart in various areas of service such as going wherever He
sends us  is “I’ll Go Where You Want Me To Go.”  The text of stanza 1 is
attributed to Mary Brown (1856-1918).  There may have been a Mary Brown
who lived in Jewett City, CN, during the last decades of the 19th
century.  However, some authorities now think that the first stanza was
written under that pseudonym by Charles Hutchinson Gabriel (1856-1932).
The tune (Manchester) was composed by Carrie Esther Rounsefell
(1861-1930).  Born and raised in New Hampshire, she visited Lynn, MA, in
1894, and a minister gave her a copy of the first stanza, attributed to
Mary Brown, and asked her to provide a tune.  First sung in a revival
service there and then printed in song sheet form, the song’s earliest
appearance in a hymnbook was in “Best Hymns No. 2,” published in 1895 by
the Evangelical Publishing Co. of Chicago, IL, for which the text of
stanzas two and three was written by Charles Edwin Prior (1856-1927).

     Among historic hymnbooks used by churches of Christ, the song
appears in the 1921 “Great Songs of the Church” No. 1 (#145) and the 1937
“Great Songs of the Church No. 2” (#119) both edited by E. L. Jorgenson;
the 1935 “Christian Hymns” No. 1 (#312) and the 1948 “Christian Hymns No.
2″ (#317) both edited by L. O. Sanderson.  Among hymnbooks currently used
by churches of Christ, it appears in the 1956 “Sacred Selections for the
Church” (#191) edited by Ellis J. Crum; the 1971 “Songs of the Church”
(#247) and the 1990 “Songs of the Church 21st C. Ed.” (#251) both edited
by Alton H. Howard; and the 1992 “Praise for the Lord” (#314) edited by
John P. Wiegand.

     The song suggests some things that we can do in the Lord’s service.

I. The first stanza says that we should go where He wants us to go
     “It may not be on the mountain’s height, Or over the stormy sea;
It may not be at the battle’s front My Lord will have need of me;
But if I am needed anywhere In paths that I do not know,
I’ll answer, dear Lord, with my hand in Thine, I’ll go where You want me
to go.”
 A. Wherever they go, be it on the mountain’s height, over the stormy
sea, or even at the battle’s front, the Lord wants His people to go
everywhere preaching the word: Acts 8.4
 B. The original of stanza 1, line 5 was, “But if by a still, small voice
He calls to paths that I do not know.” If we understand this as the Lord
speaking to each of us by His word, then we should be able to sing it
with no problem.  However, to avoid the possibility of thinking that this
is talking about God speaking directly to us, some books change it to,
“But if I am needed anywhere in paths that I do not know.”  In any event,
we need to go wherever we have the ability and opportunity to teach
others–whether across borders and seas to foreign lands, or across the
street to our neighbors: Matt. 28.19-20
 C. We know that Jesus wants His people to “go into all the world and
preach the gospel to every creature”: Mk. 16.15-16.  Therefore my
attitude should be, “I’ll go where You want me to go.”

II. The second stanza tells us that we should say what He wants us to say
“Perhaps today there are loving words Which Jesus would have me speak;
There may be now in the paths of sin Some wanderer whom I should seek;
O Savior, if Thou wilt be my guide, Though dark and rugged the way,
My voice shall echo Thy message sweet, I’ll say what You want me to
 A. Yes, there are loving words which Jesus would have us speak–they are
found in the gospel of salvation: Rom. 1.16
 B. Yes, there are now in the paths of sin some wanderers whom we should
seek–cf.: Acts 18.9-10, 2 Cor.5.10-21
 C. Therefore, our voices need to echo His message sweet by teaching
others also: 2 Tim. 2.2.  If Jesus is truly my guide, though dark and
rugged the way, my attitude needs to be, “I’ll say what You want me to

III. The third stanza tells us that we should be what He wants us to be
  “There’s surely somewhere a lowly place, In earth’s harvest fields so
Where I may labor through life’s short day For Jesus, the Crucified;
So trusting my all to Thy tender care, And knowing Thou lovest me,
I’ll do Thy will with a heart sincere, I’ll be what You want me to be.”
 A. Surely there is a place for each of us in earth’s harvest field so
wide where we may labor: Matt. 9.35-38
 B. But to do so, we must trust our all to His tender care and remember
that He loves us: Heb. 13.5-6, 1 Pet. 5.7
 C. And with this determination, we can do His will with a heart sincere;
and His will is that we be good examples to the people of this world:
Matt. 5.14-16, 1 Tim. 4.12.  Hence, my attitude in the service of Christ
is that “I’ll be what You want me to be.”

CONCL.:  The chorus repeats the three main apsects of our service to
Jesus Christ mentioned in the stanzas:
“I’ll go where You want me to go, dear Lord, Over mountain, or plain, or
I’ll say what you want me to say, dear Lord, I’ll be what you want me to
As we strive to serve Christ in this life, each Christian should have the
kind of attitude toward doing the Lord’s will that he or she will always
say to Him, “I’ll Go Where You Want Me To Go.”

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