Sunday, March 4
Note: We asked our writers on Sundays to address the power of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs in their lives.

Each time I thought that the hymn choices had been narrowed down, a different song came to mind. About twenty years ago, when I decided to resign from my full-time job at a computer technology firm and accept a full-time music ministry position, the federal agency division where I worked as a contractor held a farewell reception. My remarks began, “It pays to serve Jesus.” It was not “politically correct”; nonetheless, it was – and is true.

It Pays to Serve Jesus
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.
It pays to serve Jesus, it pays ev’ry day,
It pays ev’ry step of the way;
Tho’ the pathway to glory
may sometimes be drear,
You’ll be happy each step of the way.

As I wrote this, I thought of an acquaintance, Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker, civil rights activist, retired pastor who died on January 23. He and I were part of the team of ministers and musicians who worked together to produce The African American Heritage Hymnal. I pulled one of his books from the shelf – “Somebody’s Calling My Name.”* As I was quickly fanning through the pages, I stopped.

“The music of the Black church often verbalized poetically that which the individual has difficulty articulating. It is not uncommon to hear, in the everyday speech of the faithful, the idiomatic use of snatches of lines of hymns and Spirituals…When some occurrence takes place that smacks of good fortune, a frequent response in explanation is, ‘It pays to serve Jesus every day.’”

Prayer: Lord, as this new day begins, help me in my thoughts and actions to intentionally serve Jesus with gladness.

 – Valeria Foster

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