Thursday, June 07, 2012

Where is your joy? Why the 1963 version is way better than the 1954 original

So Send I You, written in 1954, has been referred to as the greatest mission's song of the 20th century.  I can't argue with history, but the words of the first verse always stick in my throat a little when it's sung in a mission's conference. "So send I you -- to labor unrewarded, To serve unpaid, unloved, unsought, unknown..."
Unrewarded?  Mark 9:41  "For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward."
Unpaid? 1Pe 5:4 "And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away."
Unloved? Jeremiah 31:3a  "The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love:..."
Unsought?   Jeremiah 31:3b "therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee."
Unknown? Mat 10:30  "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered."

Jesus said that, if a servant of God is not willing to lay aside all his ambitions and desires, his very life even, and take up his cross to follow Christ, that servant is unworthy of Christ.  I get that.  But it only seems to be that one is unrewarded, unpaid, unloved, etc, if we forget our primary relationship with God.  Well then, yes, we are of all men, most miserable!  That is because in order to serve God in a way that would please Him, (at home or abroad) one must relinquish one's claim to earthly benefits and blessings.  That is not to say we don't receive them, but that they are not ours to claim, but to manage for Christ.  He can remove blessings and bestow them as He sees fit.  Then, we are completely dependent on that relationship with Christ for our joy and peace, not on our earthly circumstances.  If our focus is earthly,  we will be depressed pretty quick, but if our focus is on Heaven, we see that we never made a sacrifice at all.  This is what God desires for everyone.

There is a great truth in this old song.  "So send I you to lose your life in mine."  this thought is an excellent meditation for the servant of God.  Jesus put it this way,   " If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." Matthew 16:24b Paul put it this way,  " I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily."1Corinthians 15:31

So while I acknowledge the truth of emptying yourself, I hesitate to sing this song.  It sounds a lot like my heart sounds when I'm having a pity party.

The author of So Send I You, Margaret Clarkson, recognized this, since she wrote it in a time in her life when she was feeling isolated and sad, and later learned more about what missions is all about.  She rewrote it, and hoped that the churches would take up the new words in place of the old, saying, "Above all I wish to be a biblical writer, and the second hymn is the more biblical one."  I think so too!  Here are the words:

Margaret Clarkson, 1963
So send I you -- by grace made strong to triumph O’er hosts of hell, o’er darkness, death and sin,
My name to bear and in that name to conquer -- So send I you, My victory to win.
So send I you - to take to souls in bondage The Word of Truth that sets the captive free
To break the bonds of sin, to loose death’s fetters -- So send I you, to bring the lost to Me.
So send I you -- My strength to know in weakness, My joy in grief, My perfect peace in pain,
To prove My pow’r, My grace, My promised presence -- So send I you, eternal fruit to gain.
So send I you -- to bear My cross with patience, And then one day with joy to lay it down,
To hear My voice, “Well done, My faithful servant -- Come share My throne, My kingdom and My crown!”
“As the Father hath sent Me, so send I you.”

Read more about this neat Christian lady here.

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