Words and music by Elisha A. Hoffman
I must tell Jesus….all of my trials…….
I cannot bear my….burdens alone….
In my distress….he kindly will help me………
He ever loves and cares for his own…..
I must tell Jesus….I must tell Jesus…..
I cannot bear….my burdens alone…..
I must tell Jesus….I must tell Jesus…..
Jesus can help me…..Jesus alone……
I must tell Jesus….all of my troubles…..
He is a kind…compassionate friend…..
If I but ask Him….He will deliver…………..
Make of my troubles….quickly an end…
Tempted and tried…..I need a great Savior…..
One who can help my burdens to bear…….
I must tell Jesus….I must tell Jesus………..
He all my cares and sorrows will share……
O how the world….to evil allures me…….
O how my heart is tempted to sin……
I must tell Jesus…and He will help me………
Over the world the victory to win
Some people seem to have an endless stream of heartaches and painful experiences. And yet all things work for good to those that love God. Pastoral visits are not only old fashioned but very important. In modern day Christianity where Pastoral work is only confined to activities and office work, little wonder the sheep go astray and wander as without a shephered. A lesson from Pastor Hoffman is necessary today. The text of our hymn today was written together with the tune by Elisha Albright Hoffman, who was born on May 7, 1839, the son of a preacher. Educated in Philadelphia USA and the Union Seminary of the Evangelical Association he also became an Evangelical minister (Pastor) in 1868.
One day in 1893, while undertaking his usual pastoral duties Hoffman visited a church member who had many episodes of sorrow and afflictions. Pastor Hoffman tried to comfort the distraught woman using scriptures, he found that she kept wringing her hands and crying, “What shall I do? What shall I do?” Well, friends, there comes a time when you know the doctrines and the theology, but at that moment all you want to know is what next? As with Pastor Hoffman, as sympathetic as he was, time to leave had come as as he began to leave, having nothing else to offerthis woman, Hoffman said, “You can do nothing better than to tell your sorrow to Jesus.” The woman’s eyes lightened up and she exclaimed, “Yes, I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus”. On his way home, the phrase, “I must tell Jesus,” kept running through Hoffman’s mind. As soon as he reached his house, he went directly to his study where he penned the stanzas. Shortly afterwards he produced the music to fit the words as well.
“I must tell Jesus” was wrought out of a Pastor’s intimate dealing with a soul seeking deliverance from pain, sickness and sin. His tender ministry of quoted scripture promises, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest…If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive…Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee…” and his earnest prayer for God’s blessing on her body and soul brought forth the great confession, “I must tell Jesus!” She needed healing for her body, peace for her mind, and assurance in her soul, so she cried out from the very depths of her being. Only Jesus can provide such comfort and such a cry God always answers.
There are several things I like about this hymn. First of all, the word “Must” in this song communicates to me a desperate need by the writer to talk to Jesus. It is not “I should tell Jesus”, “I might tell Jesus”, or “I can tell Jesus”. It is “I must tell Jesus.” Do you remember as a child ever having a problem that you had to tell your parents about? Maybe you hurt yourself playing, and you go running and screaming “Mommy” or “Daddy.” In your mind as a child, your parents were the only people who could help you, and they heard that desperation in your voice. If your parents were like mine, their goal was to calm, comfort, and help you with your problem. I think this song communicates that kind of desperation, and we all know that Christ is ready, willing and able to help us. Just tell Jesus.
The song gives us several reasons why we should tell our problems to Jesus.
The first stanza says that I should tell Him my trials because He loves and cares for me. Yes, we will have various trials and tribulations in this life: 1 Pet. 4.12. And God does not expect us to bear these things alone: Heb. 13.5-6. Therefore, the Bible pictures our Lord as a loving and caring being who is ready to hear His children’s cries and help them in their afflictions: Psa. 34.17-19
Stanza number two says that I should tell Him my troubles because He has promised to deliver. Everyone will admit that this life is full of trouble: Job 14.1. But Jesus came to be our friend: Jn. 15.13-15. And the scriptures give us numerous examples of where the Lord delivered those who put their trust in Him: 2 Tim. 4.16-17
Stanza three says that I should tell Him my burdens because He is willing to share. In this life we are tempted and tried in various ways: Jas. 1.2-3, 12. But the Lord says that we can cast all such burdens on Him: Psa. 55.22. Indeed, one of the reasons that Jesus became flesh was that He might be able to understand and give aid to those who suffer: Heb. 2.17-18
Stanza four says that I should tell Him my temptations because He will give me victory. There is no doubt that the world to evil allures us: 1 Jn. 2.15-17. As a result, our hearts are often tempted to sin: Jas. 1.13-15. However, as we face the temptations of this life, Jesus has said that just as He overcame the world, so can we through Him: Jn. 16.32-33
Finally, some object to such songs as this which speak of talking to Jesus because, they say, we are to pray to the Father, not to Christ. Of course, it is true that we are to address our prayers to the Father (Matt. 6.9, Jn. 15.16). However, Jesus is our Mediator with the Father (1 Tim. 2.5). When we pray to God the Father through Jesus Christ our Mediator, we are in effect speaking to both. Thus, we really cannot talk to the Father without doing as the chorus says:
“I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus! I cannot bear my burdens alone;
I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus! Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.”
Therefore, songs like this one can simply be thought of as calling upon Jesus as our Mediator as we pray to God the Father through Him. In any event, God has promised to hear all about my trials, troubles, sorrows, and temptations, and respond to them if I will come to Him through His Son with the attitude, “I Must Tell Jesus.”