“I Must Tell Jesus”

"Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you" (1 Pet. 5:7)

     INTRO.: One song about the need to tell all our cares to Jesus is, "I Must Tell Jesus" (#77 in Hymns for Worship Revised, and #241 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written and the tune (Orwigsburg) was composed both by Elisha Albright Hoffman, who was born on May 7, 1839, at Orwigsburg, PA, the son of a preacher. Educated in the public schools of Philadelphia, PA, and the Union Seminary of the Evangelical Association in Berlin, PA, he also became an Evangelical minister in 1868. In addition, although having no formal musical training, he served for eleven years during the 1880’s with the Evangelical Association Publishing House in Cleveland, OH, as a hymnwriter and songbook compiler with over fifty books and 2000 gospel songs to his credit. During this time, he worked with churches in Cleveland and nearby Grafton, before returning to Pennsylvania.

     One day in 1893, while living and working in Lebanon, PA, Hoffman visited a church member who had many visitations of sorrow and afflictions. Trying to comfort the distraught woman from the scriptures, he found that she kept wringing her hands and crying, "What shall I do? What shall I do?" Finally, as the sympathetic minister began to leave, having nothing else to offer her, Hoffman replied, "You can do nothing better than to tell your sorrow to Jesus." The woman’s eyes lightened up and she exclaimed, "Yes, I must tell Jesus!" On his way home, the phrase, "I must tell Jesus," kept running through Hoffman’s mind. As soon as he reached his house, he went directly to his study where he penned the stanzas. Shortly afterwards he produced the music to fit the words as well.

     The song was copyrighted by Hoffman in 1893 and first appeared in the 1894 edition of Pentecostal Hymns published by Henry Date, of which Hoffman was one of the editors. In later years, Hoffman became minister of the First Presbyterian Church of Benton Harbor, MI, and then in Cabery, IL, before his death at Chicago, Il, on Nov. 25, 1929. Other well-known songs by Hoffman that have appeared in many of our books include "Are You Washed in the Blood?", "Glory to His Name," "That’s Enough For Me," "Is Thy Heart Right With God?", "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms," "Where Will You Spend Eternity?", and "What a Wonderful Savior." Another of his hymns which is quite popular but has not included in any of our books that I know of is, "Is Your All on the Altar?"

     Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, "I Must Tell Jesus" appeared in the 1935 Christian Hymns (No. 1), the 1948 Christian Hymns No. 2, and the 1966 Christian Hymns No. 3 all edited by L. O. Sanderson; 1937 Great Songs of the Church No. 2 (chorus only) edited by E. L. Jorgenson; the 1940 Complete Christian Hymnal edited by Marion Davis; the 1963 Abiding Hymns edited by Robert C. Welch; and the 1963 Christian Hymnal edited by J. Nelson Slater. Today, it may be found in the 1971 Songs of the Church, the 1990 Songs of the Church 21st C. Ed., and the 1994 Songs of Faith and Praise all edited by Alton H. Howard; and the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; in addition to Hymns for Worship and Sacred Selections.

     The song gives us several reasons why we should tell our problems to Jesus.

I. Stanza one says that I should tell Him my trials because He loves and cares for me.
"I must tell Jesus all of my trials; I cannot bear these burdens alone.
In my distress He kindly will help me; He ever loves and cares for His own."
 A. We will have various trials and tribulations in this life: 1 Pet. 4.12
 B. And God does not expect us to bear these things alone: Heb. 13.5-6
 C. Therefore, the Bible pictures our Lord as a loving and caring being who is ready to hear His children’s cries and help them in their
afflictions: Psa. 34.17-19

II. Stanza two says that I should tell Him my troubles because He has promised to deliver
"I must tell Jesus all of my troubles; He is a kind, compassionate Friend.
If I but ask He will deliver, Make of my troubles quickly an end."
 A. Everyone will admit that this life is full of trouble: Job 14.1
 B. But Jesus came to be our friend: Jn. 15.13-15
 C. And the scriptures give us numerous examples of where the Lord delivered those who put their trust in Him: 2 Tim. 4.16-17

III. Stanza three says that I should tell Him my burdens because He is willing to share
"Tempted and tried I need a great Savior, One who can help my burdens to bear.
I must tell Jesus, I must tell Jesus; He all my cares and sorrows will share."
 A. In this life we are tempted and tried in various ways: Jas. 1.2-3, 12
 B. But the Lord says that we can cast all such burdens on Him: Psa. 55.22
 C. Indeed, one of the reasons that Jesus became flesh was that He might be able to understand and give aid to those who suffer: Heb. 2.17-18

IV. Stanza four says that I should tell Him my temptations because He will give me victory
"O how the world to evil allures me! O how my heart is tempted to sin!
I must tell Jesus, and He will help me Over the world the victory to win."
 A. There is no doubt that the world to evil allures us: 1 Jn. 2.15-17
 B. As a result, our hearts are often tempted to sin: Jas. 1.13-15
 C. However, as we face the temptations of this life, Jesus has said that just as He overcame the world, so can we through Him: Jn. 16.32-33

     CONCL.: Some object to such songs as this which speak of talking to Jesus because, they say, we are to pray to the Father, not to Christ. Of course, it is true that we are to address our prayers to the Father (Matt. 6.9, Jn. 15.16). However, Jesus is our Mediator with the Father (1 Tim. 2.5). When we pray to God the Father through Jesus Christ our Mediator, we are in effect speaking to both. Thus, we really cannot talk to the Father without doing as the chorus says:
"I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus! I cannot bear my burdens alone;
I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus! Jesus can help me, Jesus alone."
Therefore, songs like this one can simply be thought of as calling upon Jesus as our Mediator as we pray to God the Father through Him. In any event, God has promised to hear all about my trials, troubles, sorrows, and temptations, and respond to them if I will come to Him through His Son with the attitude, "I Must Tell Jesus."


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