Scripture Verse

Whoever serves Me must follow Me. John 12:26

Introduction

portrait
Frank C. Huston
1871–1959

Words & Mu­sic: Frank C. Hus­ton, 1909 (🔊 pdf nwc).

If you know where to get a bet­ter pho­to of Hus­ton,

Introduction

It was in Ap­ril of 1909, while Frank was di­rect­ing the mu­sic for Ev­an­gel­ist W. S. Bu­chan­an in a ser­ies of ser­vic­es be­ing held in Pro­vi­dence Chris­tian Church, Scran­ton, Penn­syl­van­ia, that he was in­spired to write the mu­sic of It Pays to Serve Je­sus, one of his fin­est gos­pel hymns.

His hosts dur­ing the Scran­ton en­gage­ment were Mr. and Mrs. Gwyl­ym Ed­wards, choir di­rect­or and church or­gan­ist re­spec­tive­ly of the Pro­vi­dence con­gre­ga­tion.

One day while Frank was mus­ing at the key­board of the Ed­wards’ pi­ano, a me­lo­dy sud­den­ly came to him which he de­cid­ed was worth sav­ing. So he quick­ly wrote it down on a piece of mu­sic pa­per which he usu­al­ly car­ried around in his pock­et for just such emer­gen­cies, and prompt­ly for­got all about it.

Returning to his home in In­di­an­apo­lis [In­di­ana] af­ter the Penn­syl­van­ia meet­ing for a pe­ri­od of rest and fel­low­ship with his fa­mi­ly, he brought his new tune with him.

A few days lat­er he paid a v­isit to an eigh­ty-two year old friend, M. E. Mick, a de­vout mem­ber of the Me­ri­di­an Street Me­tho­dist Church of that ci­ty.

During their con­ver­sa­tion, Mick sud­den­ly said to Hus­ton, Bro­ther Hus­ton, you have writ­ten so ma­ny good songs, won’t you write one for me on the sub­ject we have just been dis­cuss­ing, and call it, ‘It Pays to Serve Je­sus’?

Frank in­ter­rupt­ed to re­mind his ag­ed friend that there was al­rea­dy a pub­lished song bear­ing that ti­tle, where­up­on Mick re­plied, I know there is, but I think you can write a bet­ter one.

While in [Har­ris­burg, Penn­syl­van­ia] Hus­ton re­called Mick’s plea of sev­er­al weeks ear­li­er, so he went to the fine pi­ano in the liv­ing room of his host and host­ess [and] sud­den­ly he re­called the ma­nu­script in his pock­et, and out of sheer cur­io­si­ty, he took it out placed it on the mu­sic rack of the pi­ano and played through it.

Intrigued with what he had com­posed and then com­plete­ly for­got­ten, he played it a se­cond time and then a third, while the words of a stan­za and chor­us fell in­to place al­most spon­ta­neous­ly.

Before he knew it, he was sing­ing a brand new hymn to his own orig­in­al tune.

Emurian, p. 67

Lyrics

The service of Je­sus
True pleasure affords,
In Him there is joy without an alloy;
’Tis Hea­ven to trust Him and rest on His words;
It pays to serve Je­sus each day.

Refrain

It pays to serve Je­sus, it pays every day,
It pays every step of the way,
Though the pathway to glo­ry
May sometimes be drear,
You’ll be happy each step of the way.

It pays to serve Je­sus
Whate’er may betide,
It pays to be true whate’er you may do;
’Tis riches of mercy in Him to abide;
It pays to serve Je­sus each day.

Refrain

Though sometimes the shadows
May hang o’er the way,
And sorrows may come to beckon us home,
Our precious Re­deem­er each toil will repay;
It pays to serve Je­sus each day.

Refrain