Once there was a young girl who fell into sin and contracted tuberculosis. She was dying in the hospital. An old servant of the Lord preached the gospel to her, she accepted the Lord, she was saved and became very happy, and peace filled her heart.
After a few days, this old servant went to see her again. He was surprised to find her with a very sad face and very sorrowful. The servant asked her,
“Why? Do not let Satan cheat you.”
She said, “No, I know that my sins have been forgiven.”
“Then why are you so sorrowful?”
She answered sadly, “My years and days are almost finished. I am lying here, and I am about to die. When I stand in front of the Lord, the Lord may reckon me as saved. But what do I have to bring to Him? I can only tell the Lord that I have come empty-handed! How can I face my Lord with empty hands?”
Truly, if the Lord takes you today, what do you have to bring to Him? Have you ever saved a soul? That is why this sister was very sad.
The old servant said to her, “Sister, do not worry. I will take what you have just said and will write a song right next to your bed to encourage others to preach the gospel. In this way, all those who preach the gospel and save souls because of this song will share their rewards with you.”
He wrote the now well-known song:
Must I go, and empty handed,
Thus my dear Redeemer meet?
Not one day of service give Him,
Lay no trophy at His feet?
Not at death I shrink or falter,
For my Savior saves me now;
But to meet Him empty handed,
Thought of that now clouds my brow.
O the years in sinning wasted,
Could I but recall them now,
I would give them to my Savior,
To His will I’d gladly bow.
O ye saints, arouse, be earnest,
Up and work while yet ’tis day;
Ere the night of death o’er take thee,
Strive for souls while still you may.
Must I go, and empty handed?
Must I meet my Savior so?
Not one soul with which to greet Him,
Must I empty handed go?
[Lyrics – Charles Carroll Luther, 1877.
Music – George Coles Stebbins (1846-1945) ]
Because of this song, many were touched to go out to preach the gospel. That is what the Lord means when He says, “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust (the licking locust and the consuming locust and the cutting locust) has eaten.”
Therefore, let us testify for Him today, serve Him, and recover the zeal which was in the beginning.