“Lead Me to Some Soul Today”

"He which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death…" (Jas. 5.20)

     INTRO.: A song which is a request for God to help us in converting sinners from the error of their way is "Lead Me To Some Soul Today" (#476 in Hymns for Worship Revised). The text of stanza 1 was written by Will Henry Hougton, who was born at South Boston, MA, on June 28, 1887. The son of John William and Carrie Maude Grant Houghton, he was educatedin the Boston public schools and briefly went on the stage, but deciding to give his life to Christ, he attended Eastern Nazarene College in Rhode Island, and became a Baptist minister in 1915. Following the death of his first wife in 1916, he married Elizabeth Andrews in 1918.

     After serving churches in Pennsylvania, Georgia, and New York, during which time he also held a religious campaign in Ireland, Houghton became president of Moody Bible Institute at Chicago, IL, in 1934, where he remained until his death. The tune (Loveless) was composed by Wendell Phillips Loveless (1892-1987). A businessman, he became director of the radio department at Moody Bible Institute, and later served as a minister with a church in Chicago, as well as with churches in Illinois and Florida. The song seems to have been first printed in one of Loveless’s five volume series Radio Songs and Choruses of the Gospel.

     It appeared in Tabernacle Hymns No. 4, published at Chicago in 1941 with the note, "Used by permission of Moody Bible Institute" and bearing the copyright date of 1936, the same year that Houghton produced a book Lessons in Soul Winning which sold over 50,000 copies. Houghton died at Los Angeles, CA, on June 14, 1947. Later, in 1964, the copyright was renewed by the Hope Publishing Co. of Carol Stream, IL. For many years this song appeared as a one-stanza chorus. However, more recently several individuals have attempted to provide additional stanzas to make the song more useful. Eugene D. Compton of Baytown, TX, provided two excellent additional stanzas which were first published in the Feb. 21, 1974, edition of the Gospel Guardian, and will be used here.

     Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, the original one-stanza version appeared in the 1937 Great Songs of the Church No. 2 edited by E. L. Jorgenson; the 1959 Majestic Hymnal No. 2 and the 1978 Hymns of Praise both edited by Reuel Lemmons; and the 1963 Christian Hymnal edited by J. Nelson Slater. Today it may be found in the 1986 Great Songs Revised edited by Forrest M. McCann; and the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand.  Three additional stanzas were provided in the 1977 Special Sacred Selections by editor Ellis J. Crum and are also used in Hymns for Worship. Two more additional stanzas were provided in the 2007 Sacred Songs of the Church by the editor William D. Jeffcoat.

     The song encourages us to be active in soulwinning.

I. According to stanza 1, we should ask that the Lord will teach us what to say
"Lead me to some soul today; O teach me, Lord, just what to say.
Friends of mine are lost in sin, And cannot find their way.
Few there are who seem to care, And few there are who pray."
 A. Asking the Lord to lead us to some soul indicates that we recognize the value of even a single soul: Matt. 16.26
 B. Although God doesn’t speak to us directly as He did to inspired men in the first century who were revealing His word so that they would know what to say, we should still seek His help in speaking the truth in love: Eph. 4.14
 C. And there should be no lack of people to whom we can speak, because people all around us "are lost in sin, and cannot find their way" but do not "seem to care": Rom. 3.23

II. According to stanza 2, we should ask that the Lord will help us to be a good influence
"Let my light so shine for Thee, and all the world Thy glory see;
Never let it grow so dim that all they see is me;
For I know alone I’m weak, but as Thy child I pray."
 A. We are to let our light so shine that others may see our good works and glorify God: Matt. 5.14-16
 B. Therefore, we must be careful not to let our lights grow dim by engaging in behavior that detracts from Christ: Phil. 2.14-15
 C. Unfortunately, sometimes we are weak, but we must go to the Lord in prayer to find strength: Eph. 6.10-18

III. According to stanza 3, we should ask that the Lord will give us opportunities to win souls
"When I see those all about, whose actions speak their way of life,
In their joys they seek to find escape from all their strife.
Oh! I know they need my help to guide them to the way."
 A. When we see those around us whose actions speak of a sinful way of life, we know that the fields are white to harvest: Jn. 4.35
 B. As, in their joys, they seek to find escape from all their strife, they are like sheep having no shepherd: Matt. 9.36-38
 C. Like the Ethiopian eunuch, they will not understand the way of salvation unless someone–perhaps us?–should guide them: Acts 8.30-35

     CONCL.: The chorus again asks God’s help in overcoming the obstacles to soul-winning, such as an absence of care, a lack of prayer, and a hardened heart–both in others and in ourselves.
"Melt my heart and fill my life:
Give me some soul today."
In a world where even many of our loved ones, friends, and neighbors are dying in sin, each child of God should pray every day and say to the Lord, "Lead Me To Some Soul Today."

     (Note: The words to stanza 1 and the chorus are under copyright by Hope Publishing Co. Eugene Compton’s stanzas are reprinted with his permission)


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