CHRIST FOR THE WORLD WE SING
Samuel Wolcott, 1813–1886
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:19, 20)
The task of worldwide evangelization is a staggering challenge. It is estimated that the world’s population is presently about 5 billion people, with two-thirds of mankind still unreached with the gospel. Also one-third of the human race is nearly destitute, lacking the basic necessities for survival. Yet we are told that by the year 2,000 the population will add another billion, and that in the next 100 years the population will double to more than 10 billion people. All this time, other world religions are also pressing their claims with increasing vigor. Islam is growing at a rate of 16 percent annually, Hinduism at 12 percent. Christianity’s growth is estimated at less then 10 percent.
Samuel Wolcott, author of this missionary text, had a burning zeal for the spread of the gospel and the spiritual needs of the world. In his earlier years he had been a missionary to Syria before poor health forced his return to America. Later he served as pastor in numerous Congregational churches, as well as acting as secretary of the Ohio Home Missionary Society. It was while pastoring the Plymouth Congregational Church in Cleveland, Ohio, that he wrote this text. He stated:
The Young Men’s Christian Association of Ohio met in one of our churches with their motto in evergreen letters over the pulpit, “Christ for the World, and the World for Christ.”
Pastor Wolcott was so moved by this motto that he promptly wrote these words, which have since been widely used to challenge Christians to have a vision for the needs of our entire world.
Christ for the world we sing! The world to Christ we bring with loving zeal: The poor and them that mourn, the faint and overborne, sinsick and sorrow worn, whom Christ doth heal.
Christ for the world we sing! The world to Christ we bring with fervent prayer: The wayward and the lost, by restless passions tossed, redeemed at countless cost from dark despair.
Christ for the world we sing! The world to Christ we bring with joyful song: The newborn souls, whose days, reclaimed from error’s ways, inspired with hope and praise, to Christ belong.
Psalm 22:27; Mark 13:10; 16:15; Romans 10:12–15
Ask God to give you a worldwide vision for the furtherance of the gospel. Determine to take a greater interest in your church’s mission program. Allow this hymn to help—