- Catherine Hankey, 1834 - 1911
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise. (Proverbs 11:30)
Soul-winning should be the normal product of our commitment to discipleship and a daily intimate relationship with the Lord. Soul-winning is not salesmanship, in which we try to manipulate or subdue lost individuals to a decision. It is simply taking a message, the objective historical truths of the Gospel, and then speaking with the authority of Jesus Christ in the power and love of the Holy Spirit.
Sharing our personal faith should be a joyful and satisfying experience, just as it was with Kate Hankey, author of this hymn’s text. Although she was born into the home of a wealthy English banker and a member of the Anglican church, Kate early in life developed a fervent evangelical concern. She began organizing Sunday school classes for rich and poor throughout London. These classes had a strong influence in the city, with a large number of the young students in turn becoming zealous Christian workers.
When Kate was only 30 years old, however, she experienced a serious illness. During a long period of recovery, she wrote a lengthy poem on the life of Christ. The poem consisted of two main sections, each containing 50 verses. The first section of the poem was titled “The Story Wanted,” later adapted for another of Catherine Hankey’s familiar hymn texts, “Tell Me The Old, Old Story,” still widely sung today. Later that same year while recovering from her illness, Kate completed the second part of her poem, titled “The Story Told,” which became the basic part of “I Love to Tell the Story.”
I love to tell the story of unseen things above, of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love. I love to tell the story because I know ‘tis true. It satisfies my longings as nothing else can do.
I love to tell the story, more wonderful it seems than all the golden fancies of all our golden dreams. I love to tell the story – It did so much for me, and that is just the reason I tell it now to thee.
I love to tell the story, for those who know it best seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest. And when in scenes of glory I sing the new, new song, ‘twill be the old, old story that I have loved so long.
Refrain: I love to tell the story! ‘Twill be my theme in glory to tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.
For Today: Daniel 12:3; Matthew 4:19; Acts 4:12; 1 Peter 3:15; 1 John 4:9,10
Reflect seriously on this often quoted description of soul-winning – “It is proclaiming the good news just as one contented beggar tells a starving beggar friend where there is food.” Sing this musical testimony –
I love to tell the story! ‘Twill be my theme in glory –
To tell the old, old story, of Jesus and His love.
Adapted from Amazing Grace – 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions by Kenneth W. Osbeck