Must I go, and empty-handed

“Must I go, and empty-handed,”
Thus my dear Redeemer meet?
Not one day of service give Him,
Lay no trophy at His feet?
  “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?
Not at death I shrink nor 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’ertake thee,
Strive for souls while still you may.
Chuneze Ezenwafor

Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria

Help me heavenly to draw souls unto You in Jesus name. Amen.

Mrs V Amodu


Soul wining is a must for every Christian so that Jesus' death will not be in vain.

Trade Aina

Ikeja, Lagos

May we earnestly labour for the salvation of the lost and thus share in the burden of our Lord Jesus Christ. We all must strive for the the salvation of the lost.

Roselyn Agidi

Obalende, Lagos, Undefined

It is a must for every believer to win soul. "He that win soul is wise". May good Lord help us.


Abuja, FCT, Nigeria

This hymn pricks my heart any time I sing it and it tells me I am yet to start the race. God help me.

Ruth Mafolasire

Ogbomosho, Oyo, Nigeria

This hymn has inspired my soul to preach the gospel of Christ to unbelievers before my final moment so that I will not go empty hand as well.

Omiyale Olakunle

Lagos, Nigeria

Ed Gray wrote an acronym on TALENTS. He says; Tools, Ability/Anointing, Love & Everything Needed To Succeed. Truly, everything has been given (made available) to every Christian to succeed (Eph. 1:3), and this success is neither measured in the amount of wealth we grabbed, not in the number of houses we erected on this terrestial plain, not in .... The success is only measured in the number of lives we affected and SOULS in our hand to present before the Great King.

Joshua Brown

Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria

This truth must always be told especially in our ever busy world today were everybody claims to be too busy with making ends meet, that they have little or no time for soul winning. Our God accepts no excuse for failure to come with souls when u will approach His presence.

Silas Ajaka

Newark, New Jersey, United States

In short, this hymn not just inspires my soul, also open my spiritual eyes to see the urgency of preaching the gospel of Christ. It is a challenging question to every Christian to see how many opportunity we miss every day. How I pray that God should increase the passion for the perishing soul in our heart untill we see Him face to face. In Jesus name, Amen.

Michael Ihemere

London, United Kingdom

I Bless Your Holy Oh Lord. This music inspires my soul more than anything. I pray that the Spirit the faithful guide leads in the right path all my life. May I never go an empty-handed to meet my Creator. Bless The Perfect God We Serve...Amen.

We must remember that one day we will all stand before the Lord. How will we give an account of ourselves, if our hands are empty? Hymns, #930 says, "'Must I go and empty-handed,' / Thus my dear Redeemer meet? / Not one day of service give Him, / Lay no trophy at His feet?" This hymn gives a vivid description of how pricked our hearts should feel. We should not wait for others to ask whether our friends and relatives are saved. I am afraid that when God asks us, even the angels will condemn us. This understanding will change our living. In the past we had our friends and relatives over for dinner and politely laughed and conversed with them, but we never preached the gospel to them. How can we repay our debt of the gospel to them?

The story behind the writing of this hymn is very touching. A number of years ago, a certain saint was dying and was full of regret for not having brought anyone to the Lord. A servant of the Lord told this saint that he would write a hymn that would help others in the coming years to rise up to take the time while they are still living to save sinners. The matter of saving sinners is something which all of us need to seriously consider. If we were to go to meet the Lord this very day, what would our condition be related to this matter?

This hymn was written long ago in America by Charles C. Luther. It was translated into Chinese at an early date and was widely sung among Chinese Christians. The story behind this hymn concerns an American sister who lived an ordinary Christian life. While she was on her deathbed, she suddenly felt that she had failed the Lord and was ashamed to meet Him because she had not led one person to Him in her lifetime. Therefore, she was exceedingly sorrowful. Her pastor, who was Charles C. Luther, not knowing how to comfort her, wrote this hymn to express her sentiments. When I was young, every time I attended a gospel revival meeting, we would sing this hymn. The tune can easily arouse one's spirit. Even though the original Chinese translation was poor, each time after we sang the hymn, there would always be people walking up to the front in tears and consecrating themselves for the gospel.

Later when I was compiling our hymnal, I spent much time considering whether this particular hymn is suitable to be included. Because our emphasis has always been on such high topics as the Spirit, life, Christ, and the church, I felt that the content and thought of this hymn were rather ordinary and therefore did not deserve to be included. However, because I had obtained a deep impression from this hymn, I truly liked it and could not forget it. Moreover, there is something special about the tune that can easily stir up the believer's spirit for gospel preaching. Therefore, I decided to do my best to improve the translation and to include it in the hymnal.

This hymn says that when a believer dies and goes to meet the Lord, he should not be empty-handed but should offer some trophies to Him. We preach the gospel not in fear of death but because we do not want to meet the Lord empty-handed. That we are saved is not a problem, but we still need to live an overcoming life that we may have trophies to offer to the Lord. Paul said that the believers whom he led to salvation were his hope, joy, and crown of boasting before the Lord (1 Thes. 2:19-20). If when you meet the Lord, you see that everyone else is bringing a herd of lambs and you alone are empty-handed, you will feel sad and ashamed. However, if you also bring with you a good number of lambs, your feeling and joy will be indescribable.

According to this hymn, while we believers are alive, it is day, and when we die, we enter into the dark night, that is, the night of death (stanza 4). We must work while it is day, for when night comes, no one can work (John 9:4). Therefore, while it is still day, before the night falls, we should work actively to save many souls that we may bring with us to offer to the Lord. Although the spiritual meaning of this hymn is not very deep, it has its value in practicality.