When I was a teenager, the hymn “So Send I You” was sung sometimes when a missionary was there to speak at a service or, more often, at a service when the emphasis was a call to “full-time” Christian ministry. I didn’t think the lyrics were depressing at the time: they just seemed like a serious and sober look at a calling that would probably be hard. But they do seem to emphasis the hardships and neglect the joys:
So send I you to labor unrewarded,
To serve unpaid, unloved, unsought, unknown,
To bear rebuke, to suffer scorn and scoffing-
So send I you to toil for Me alone.
So send I you to bind the bruised and broken,
O’er wand’ring souls to work, to weep, to wake,
To bear the burdens of a world aweary-
So send I you to suffer for My sake.
So send I you to loneliness and longing,
With heart ahung’ring for the loved and known,
Forsaking home and kindred, friend and dear one-
So send I you to know My love alone.
So send I you to leave your life’s ambition,
To die to dear desire, self-will resign,
To labor long, and love where men revile you-
So send I you to lose your life in Mine.
So send I you to hearts made hard by hatred,
To eyes made blind because they will not see,
To spend, tho’ it be blood, to spend and spare not-
So send I you to taste of Calvary.
As the Father hath sent Me, so send I you.
Evidently the author, Margaret Clarkson, eventually recognized the lack of balance in the hymn and penned new lyrics later in her life.
She was born into an unhappy home, was bed-bound with juvenile arthritis when she was three, and suffered migraines and vomiting. Pain was a constant companion, but she was able to attend school and become a teacher. She couldn’t find a position until she accepted one at an isolated mining camp, where general loneliness was a factor, but spiritual loneliness especially overshadowed her as she said she had no real Christian fellowship for about seven years. “So Send I You” was written at this time, colored by her loneliness and pain, and probably pretty accurate for her circumstances at the time.
Some years later, though still battling pain, she found other teaching positions and began having her writing published. She came to believe “So Send I You” was one-sided, and wrote new lyrics that she felt were more biblically balanced between the trials and joys of the Christian life under-girded by God’s grace:
So send I you-by grace made strong to triumph
O’er hosts of hell, o’er darkness, death, and sin,
My name to bear, and in that name to conquer-
So send I you, my victory to win.
So send I you-to take to souls in bondage
The word of truth that sets the captive free,
To break the bonds of sin, to loose death’s fetters-
So send I you, to bring the lost to me.
So send I you-my strength to know in weakness,
My joy in grief, my perfect peace in pain,
To prove My power, My grace, My promised presence-
So send I you, eternal fruit to gain.
So send I you-to bear My cross with patience,
And then one day with joy to lay it down,
To hear My voice, “well done, My faithful servant-
Come, share My throne, My kingdom, and My crown!”
“As the Father hath sent Me, so send I you.”
It does make a difference where our focus is.
There is a nice slideshow of Margaret’s life here.
I found a simple but nice rendition of the new lyrics here:
I had wanted to include this in the 31 Days of Missionary Stories, but ran out of days. 🙂 I hope it’s a blessing to you.
I was always bothered by that song (first version) because it gives the wrong side of missions. Why not sing the second version instead? Love this! :o)
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This hymn was the theme song for my husband class in bible college , in the 1950 s.
it became the theme of our commitment to service for God.
I believe it was a necessary commitment in that time of church planting and of ministry .
It was also a rewarding commitment because when you give your all as Jesus taught us in Matt 6:19-21 , the pay in dollars was not enough to exist on but God always saw us thru
The new version of course is the best, but without the committment of the first part the joy of the second part might not be possible.
Thank you for sharing this. It’s been a lot of years , wiith that sing ringing in my mind.
Both versions are wonderful. Both are biblical.
I have been edified by the first version during the dark times of life, while the second version has helped me keep my focus during times of victory.
Quite a significant revelation here. I’ve always known the first version till today. The context of it’s introduction to me and continued use was the wife of a respected pastor singing it but crying profusely many of the times. They endured great suffering in ministry. Being childless also made it really hard on them. It is interesting when we look at ministry from a different perspective, not just of suffering but also the glory to be revealed. Thanks for sharing. God bless you and may God bless all His missionaries toiling round the world to bring about the establishment of Christ’s kingdom and salvation of souls.
I appreciate God for coming in contact with this hymn. The first version is a typical experience of every missionary on this earth, it is truthful and bitter and really addressed some daily questions in my life as missionary. I am happy to know that what I am going through is not peculiar to me but a must for all who said “here I am, send me” The second version is hope restored, it gives strenght to the unrewarded, unpaid, unloved, unsought and unknown labourers here on earth to know that victory, over-flowing joy and crowns awaits them when Jesus comes. I sincerely can not wait to drop my cross at His feet and it will be glorious to hear Him say to me “Well done” I am glad that I came in contact with this hymn, thanks and more grace.
Thank you all! I agree there is truth in both versions. It might help some to know that someone identifies with how they feel in the first one. The second one is definitely more hopeful and victorious.
I heard the song for the first time when I was a seminary student in India. Dr. Stewart, one of missionary teachers from the U.S., sang the first version in my UBS Seminary Chapel on a Sunday morning. I still remember seeing another missionary teacher’s spouse sobbing when he sang. Several decades later, when I became a missionary pastor myself, I started singing this song during times of loneliness. Every time I sing this song tears always well up. Call to Christian ministry is indeed a serious one and most of the time it is a lonely struggle. This song always reminds me of the pioneer missionaries who have faithfully served and paved paths for those who followed them.
Precious memories. Thank God for Author/Writer of this lovely song. This was the theme song at my High School Graduation in 1981. I just learned about the second version, lyrics of the song which makes the song so enriching and invigorating; giving great hope in victory as a child of God.
During my devotion I felt the urge and desire to sing and reflect on the message of mission during this time of great challenge in the lives of Christians, worldwide. This was the song that came up in my spirit. God is really calling us to serious mission and this is the time of decision. The harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few. God is pouring out of His Spirit at this time and all Christians MUST be in the front of the battle fighting for the souls of men. The VICTORY must be won, we can’t afford to quit or give up at this time.
Margaret Clarkson has been a blessing in my life since 1981 at age 17; to this very day, whenever I hear this song rendered it forces me to surrender afresh to the mighty will of God. This is a song every born – again Christian need to know (both versions in lyrics). Both lyrics is reminding us that, “We have to suffer with Him in order to reign with Him – Christ Jesus. No cross no Crown.”
Thank you for sharing, Vivian. What a blessing this song has been to so many.