Undeniably in life, no matter how close we are to someone, some conversations are just hard to have. Whether it’s because they are awkward in general or require exposing vulnerability on our end, heavier topics can be hard to find ways to talk about organically in our everyday conversations. Regardless, some of these conversations need to be had, but sometimes we can fall into the complacency of never bringing the trickier topics to light. When it comes to the importance of sharing the love of Christ with others after encountering the life-altering grace that is so freely given to us, it’s crucial that we lean into the discomfort of these conversations – because if we do, it’s then that opportunities present themselves that could offer the chance for a wanting soul to receive salvation.
Author of the hymn “You Never Mentioned Him to Me” James Rowe was a prolific writer. Over the course of his life, he wrote over 9,000 hymns, poems, recitations, and other works. You may be familiar with another one that he wrote entitled “Love Lifted Me” – but we’ll save that one for another day. Born in England in the year 1865, he lived there until he moved to work in Dublin, Ireland for the Government Survey Office. Later on, he would then move to America in 1890 where he would work for the New York Central & Hudson Railroad Company for ten years; then after that, he served for twelve years as the superintendent of the Mohawk and Hudson River Humane Society. It wasn’t until 1896 that he really began writing, but once he did, he could not seem to stop.
The history of the reason behind writing the hymn “You Never Mentioned Him to Me” is relatively unknown, but the meaning of the words seems to be fairly straightforward. The hymn describes a judgement day scene where someone is singing from the perspective of being questioned on why they did not share the Gospel with this person throughout their earthly life. An opportunity missed and a soul facing eternal damnation, the lyrics are haunting and heavy. When faced with the reality that because one did not share the love of Christ with someone they cared about on the earthly side of heaven, it riddles the tone of the song with guilt and shame.
While it is important to remember that as believers, we are called to spread the Gospel at all times, we must maintain the grace-filled perspective that the task of saving all of humanity is not ours alone to bear. So rather than being riddled with guilt in our day to day lives about not having blunt and straightforward conversations about eternity with everyone we meet (although there is a time and place for this too of course), I encourage you to join me into leaning into a lifestyle of subtle evangelism that naturally cultivates conversations about why we are the way we are. When we live well and love well, people tend to be naturally curious as to why – and that then opens up ample opportunities for us to explain that “we love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
St. Francis of Assisi once said, “Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.” Our actions tend to speak a lot louder than our words can. When we commit to a life of loving others as Jesus loved, without agenda other than to embody the very love that God has flooded our souls and lives with – then we will see more and more opportunities to explain our hearts and salvation to everyone we meet.
Again, while I will state that there are and will continue to be moments when spreading the Gospel can be something blunt and straightforward, my belief is that we are called to live like Jesus, who time and time again during his time on earth loved people into loving him, too. He loved first, served first, consistently, before calling the recipients of his love to repentance.
You cannot save the world – but you can spread God’s love into the world.
Do you have a hymn you would like to know more about? Feel free to call in a request at 205-926-9769 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you!