“You Never Mentioned Him to Me”

"…If thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way,…his blood will I require at thine hand" (Ezek. 33.8)

     INTRO.: A song which emphasizes the consequences of not speaking to warn the wicked from his way is "You Never Mentioned Him to Me" (#598 in Hymns for Worship Revised, and #92 in Sacred Selections for the Church).  The text was written by James Rowe (1865-1933). A prolific gospel song text writer who worked with many different composers, Rowe is perhaps best remembered for "Love Lifted Me" with Howard E. Smith, as well as "After the Shadows" and "Home of the Soul" with Samuel Beazley, "God Holds the Future in His Hands" and "He’s My King" with James D. Vaughan, "I Walk With the King" and "I Would Be Like Jesus" with Benton D. Ackley, "Looking to Thee" with Herschel M. Eagle, "I Have Been Redeemed" with Stancel A. Ganus, "What Is He Worth to Your Soul?" with William B. Walbert and Adger M. Pace, and "Wonderful Jesus" with James P. Denton, among others.

     The tune was composed by James W. Gaines (1880-1937). Other hymns by Gaines that have appeared in many of our hymnbooks include "In That Home of the Soul" from 1907, and "Take My Hand and Lead Me" from 1924.  "You Never Mentioned Him to Me" dates from 1929. Several of our books have used an arrangement by Homer F. Morris for their book Favorite Songs and Hymns copyrighted in 1939 by Stamps Baxter Music and Printing Co.

     Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, the song appeared in the 1938/1944 New Wonderful Songs edited by Thomas S. Cobb; the 1943 Standard Gospel Hymns and the 1965 Great Christian Hymnal No. 2 both edited by Tillit S. Teddlie; the 1944 Gospel Songs and Hymns and the 1952 Hymns of Praise and Devotion both edited by Will W. Slater; the 1959 Majestic Hymnal No. 2 and the 1978 Hymns of Praise both edited by Reuel Lemmons; and the 1963 Abiding Hymns edited by Robert C. Welch. Today it may be found in the 1971 Songs of the Church edited by Alton H. Howard; the 1978/1983 Church Gospel Songs and Hymns edited by V. E. Howard; and the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; in addition to Hymns for Worship and Sacred Selections.

     The song points us to the need to be busy in the work of sharing the gospel with the lost.

I. Stanza 1 reminds us of the coming judgment
"When in the better land before the bar we stand,
How deeply grieved our souls may (will) be,
If any lost one there should cry in deep despair,
‘You never mentioned Him to me.’"
 A. "The bar" is an often-used poetic expression referring to judgment, in which all shall stand: Rom. 14.10
 B. This includes God’s people, and if we have any unforgiven sin against us, our souls will surely be deeply grieved, since "justment must begin at the house of God," and Peter asks, "If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?": 1 Pet. 4.17-18
 C. We know that many will be lost, but in view of the coming judgment, every child of God should work so that there will no one whom they have known and failed to tell the gospel story who will be among that number who shall go away into everlasting fire: Matt. 25.41

II. Stanza 2 reminds us of the need to help others prepare for judgment
"O let us spread the word where’er it may be heard,
Help groping souls the light to see,
That yonder none may say, ‘You showed me not the way,
You never mentioned Him to me.’"
 A. Our obligation is to spread the word wherever it may be heard, as the early disciples did: Acts 8.4
 B. Our purpose in doing this must be to help groping souls the light of the gospel to see: 2 Cor. 4.3-4
 C. Therefore, we need to be helping others prepare for judgment so that they will not hear those words, "Depart from me": Matt. 7.21-23

III. Stanza 3 reminds us of the results of helping others prepare for judgment
"A few sweet words may guide a lost one to His side,
Or turn sad eyes on Calvary;
So work as days go by, that yonder none may cry,
‘You never mentioned Him to me.’"
 A. A few sweet words may guide a lost one to Christ: Acts 11.14
 B. The goal of these words should be to turn sad eyes on Calvary where Christ was crucified: 1 Cor. 2.2
 C. In view of the resurrection and final judgment, this is the primary work in which we are to be abounding for the Lord: 1 Cor. 15.50-58

     CONCL.: The chorus emphasizes the need for Christians to mention Christ to others.
"’You never mentioned Him to me; You helped me not the light to see.
You met me day by day and knew I was astray, Yet never mentioned Him to me."
I have heard an objection to this song that there is no passage of scripture which indicates that anything like this will happen at judgment. Since none of us has ever been to judgment, we really do not know for sure one way or the other. However, simply imagining what it might be like at judgment should something like this occur should be a powerful motivating factor to encourage us to labor in sharing the gospel so that no one would say, "You Never Mentioned Him to Me."


6 thoughts on ““You Never Mentioned Him to Me”

  1. The above hymn writer was my great uncle Jim.
    I have been trying for a number of years to find some mention of how James |Rowe came to faith.
    Also, I believe there was a Hymnal published in the USA entitled 'The James Rowe Hymnal', a copy of which I would dearly like to possess (can anyone assist?)
    Brian Rowe.

  2. davblk@verizon.net
    I heard this song many times being sung by our pastor Rev. F. R. Harrwood in the early 1950’s. I am 72 yrs. old and recently 1/30/08 became a Christian, all those years when I was not a Saved I would remember this song and sing it to myself.
    Thanks for making the words available.

  3. I first heard this song when I sang it in a small Blue-grass band we were in. The profoundness of the message amazed me and I have sung it in church, the most recent being this past Sunday night ( 3/26/11) It was received as always with “fear and trembling” as to what our (Christians) responsibility is to “tell others” about the saving love and power of Jesus Christ. What a blessing Mr. Rowe provided for all Christians to hear how great our responsibility is to tell others about our Lord!!

  4. i love the song,i heard it today 04-03-2012 and it makes me feel relieved.judgement or no judgement?we must accept Jesus

  5. Sunday morning’s sermon is about why I don’t want to go to hell. Sunday evening is a sermon in song using this song.


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