This World Is Not My Home

Words and music by Albert Edward Brumley  October 29, 1905 – November, 15, 1977


  1. This world is not my home I’m just passing through
    my treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue
    the angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door
    and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore

O Lord you know I have no friend like you
if Heaven’s not my home then Lord what will I do?
the angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door
and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore

  1. They’re all expecting me and that’s one thing I know
    my savior pardoned me and now I onward go
    I know He’ll take me through though I am weak and poor
    and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore
  2. Just up in Glory Land we’ll live eternally
    the Saints on every hand are shouting victory
    their song of sweetest praise drifts back from Heaven’s shore
    and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore

Albert Edward Brumley – The Dean of Gospel Songwriters

This world

Regarding this song, a story is told of a preacher named Ray Stedman who traveled across the country for a week of meetings. The only problem was, his baggage didn’t make it. He needed a couple of suits so he went down to the local thrift shop.

When he told the salesman, “I’d like to get a couple of suits,” the man smiled, led him to a whole rack of them and said, “Good, we’ve got several. But you need to know they came from the local mortuary. They’ve all been cleaned and pressed, but they were used on stiffs. Not a thing wrong with ’em. I just didn’t want that to bother you.”

Stedman said, “No, that’s fine.” He tried a few of the suits on and finally bought two of them for about $25 dollars each.

When he got back to this his room, he began to get dressed for the evening’s meetings. As he put one on, he tried to put his hands in the pockets, but couldn’t. Both sides were all sewn up! The suits looked as if they had pockets, but they were just flaps on the coat. He thought about that for a second. “Of course! Dead people don’t carry stuff with ’em when they die.”

He later admitted: “I spent all week trying to stick my hands in my pockets. I had to hang my keys on my belt.” Charles R. Swindoll, “Living Above The Level of Mediocrity”

The old song says : “This world is not my home, I’m just passing through.” We are like tent-dwellers in the desert; suddenly one day the tent is gone and there is not a trace left ; nothing but sand. I am a stranger HERE, but thank God I am not a stranger THERE. Jesus knows me by name and is building me a mansion, as is the case with every born-again believer. Here in this world as strangers and pilgrims, we need a map, or guidance and instruction on the pathway. So the Psalmist continues, “ hide not thy commandments from me.” God’s Word is “a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Pilgrim, you need to be in the Word every day for instructions on the pathway. That’s the plan, so I’ll meet you up there at journey’s end.

Sometimes genuine greatness has rather humble beginnings! That was most certainly the case with one of the greatest gospel songwriters who ever lived. He wrote over 800 gospel and sentimental songs, and it has been conservatively estimated that these have been printed well in excess of 15 million times in sheet music and hymn books. This man was inducted into numerous halls of fame, and his music was recorded by some of the best known names in the music industry, including — Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Loretta Lynn, Aretha Franklin, Ray Stevens, Roy AcuffJohnny CashMerle Haggard, George Jones, Opry star Bill Monroe, the Blackwood Brothers, and the Boston Pops Orchestra. The Gospel Music Association stated that this individual was one of only five persons within the entire USA whose contributions directly affected 20th century gospel music! The Smithsonian Institution, in a study of gospel music, wrote that this gifted man was the “greatest white gospel songwriter before World War II.” Who was he? His name was Albert Edward Brumley, a dirt-poor, painfully shy, “skinny kid,” with only a 10th grade education, who at the time he wrote his greatest song was picking cotton in Oklahoma. The story of how God used this young man to His glory is one that will truly inspire you.

Albert Edward Brumley was born on October 29, 1905 near Spiro, Oklahoma, which was in Choctaw Indian Territory. Albert’s parents, William Sherman and Sarah Isabelle (WilliamsBrumley were poor sharecroppers on a cotton farm. They’d come to Oklahoma during the Land Run of 1889. William and Sarah were hard workers, and had very strong religious beliefs. Although they put in long days working the fields, their evenings were spent focused entirely on family, with plenty of Bible stories and music (William was a good fiddle player). They enjoyed socializing with their friends and neighbors, and were very involved with other Christians. Young Albert grew up helping work the fields, and although he attended public school in nearby Rock Island for a number of years, he never completed his studies (attending only through the 10th grade). He was a very “skinny kid,” and would constantly wear bib-overalls with a necktie, which caused him to stand out from the others. He played baseball during his school years, and could always be seen playing first base with his bib-overalls and tie on!! As one might expect, this caused him to be the focus of some rather cruel jokes from his classmates. Albert was a very simple person who enjoyed his home life. He was a good cotton picker, and he loved to sing (it is said that he had “a rich bass voice”).

In 1922, one of the traveling singing school instructors came through the area where the Brumleys lived and Albert attended it. This exposure to a musical education “set me afire,” Albert would later write, and it was from that moment he made the determination to spend his life in this vocation if he could possibly find a way to do so. He wrote his first song at this time, while still just a teenager (“I Can Hear Them Singing Over There”), but it would be several years before it was accepted for publication. In 1926, at the age of just 21, Albert decided to take a huge leap of faith, and he left home to pursue his dream! He left Oklahoma with only the clothes on his back and $3 in his pocket. He paid 50 cents of that to buy a bus ticket to Hartford, Arkansas where he had hopes he would be able to enroll in the Hartford Musical Institute. When he arrived in Hartford, Albert looked up Eugene Monroe Bartlett, who was the director of this prestigious institute, and also the owner of the Hartford Music Company. He introduced himself, and then said, “Mr. Bartlett, I hear that you’ll teach a fella how to sing and how to write music. I’ve come to learn.” Bartlett asked him if he had the $5 for the tuition, to which Albert responded, “No, sir!” He asked if he had money for room and board. He said, “No sir, Mr. Bartlett. I don’t have any money period.” Eugene Bartlett looked him up and down for a few moments, then told him he could stay in his house free, and that the tuition would be free also. That began a friendship between these two that would last for the rest of Bartlett’s life (he died in 1941). Albert would remain a student at this institute until the year 1931.

During his years at the institute, Albert managed to earn a little money by teaching singing schools throughout the region (Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri). He also toured as the bass singer and piano player with the Hartford Quartet. It was during one of the breaks in his schooling, while he was back home with his parents in Oklahoma, and while picking cotton for them out in the field, that Albert wrote his most famous hymn: “I’ll Fly Away.” This was in 1929 (although the hymn would not be published until 1932). He later stated, “I was dreaming of flying away from that cotton field when I wrote it.” While conducting one of his singing schools in Powell, Missouri, Albert met and fell in love with a young lady named Goldie Edith Schell. She also was very interested in gospel music, and would later write that she knew almost immediately upon meeting Albert Brumley that “he would be a great songwriter, and I just wanted to help him.” Albert left the Hartford Musical Institute in 1931 and married Goldie that same year. The couple settled in Powell, Missouri, where they would remain, raising their six children (Bill, Al, Bob, Tom, Jack, Betty) on the banks of Big Sugar Creek.

After they were married, it was his wife Goldie who finally encouraged him to try and get some of his songs and hymns published. He enjoyed writing them, but had not really tried to get them before the public. At her encouragement, he started with “I’ll Fly Away,” and was surprised to see it accepted. This opened the door for a great many more to come (over 800 in all). A few of his beloved hymns are: “Jesus, Hold My Hand” … “If We Never Meet Again This Side Of Heaven” … “This World Is Not My Home” … “I’ll Meet You In The Morning” … “Salvation Has Been Brought Down.” He also wrote the hit single for Ray Stevens titled “Turn Your Radio On,” as well as the song made famous on the Grand Ole Opry stage by Roy Acuff titled “Nobody Answered Me.” Early in their marriage, Albert worked in his father-in-law’s general store, where he earned a dollar a day!! Not long after that he went to work as a staff writer for the Hartford Music Company, earning a wage of $12.50 per month. Albert also worked for the Stamps Baxter music publishing companies for a time before starting his own company in Powell, Missouri called Albert E. Brumley and Sons Music. He also started Country Gentlemen Music. He became so successful at these ventures that in 1948 he was able to purchase the Hartford Music Company.

Albert and Goldie Brumley were very involved in the work of their Lord, and were members of the Church of Christ. Albert was always concerned that his hymns be biblically accurate, and to help him in this quest he would frequently consult with his father-in-law, Joe Schell, who was a serious student of the Scriptures. For example, when he was working on “Salvation Has Been Brought Down,” Albert read the words to Joe as he had originally written them: “salvation will be brought down.” Joe said, “Albert, salvation has already been brought down,” so Albert changed the words of the hymn from “will be” to “has been.” Albert also recognized the value of using the right words and phrases to convey his thoughts within his hymns. Thus, he collected several English books and taught himself better grammar! He always had a couple of reference books nearby when he was writing: Roget’s Thesaurus and a rhyming dictionary. It is said that Goldie was the “perfect wife for an immensely talented, creative, and slightly eccentric musical genius.” One of his biographers wrote, “To say Albert Brumley was unorganized is polite. His habit of working on multiple songs was a source of frustration for himself and everyone around him. He could never remember where he left the last song he was working on. He constantly wrote ideas and verses on scraps of paper, which occasionally ended up in the wastebasket and had to be retrieved. No amount of filing or office space could remedy the problem, so Goldie proved to be the ‘walking filing cabinet.’ The absent-minded composer could have solved the problem by setting up an office somewhere away from the family home, but Albert wouldn’t have any part of that. He insisted on working at home, probably because he wanted to test new songs on Goldie.”

All of Albert Brumley’s sons followed him into the music business, and a couple of them became rather well-known entertainers. They also ran his music companies following his death. In 1969 Albert established the Albert E. Brumley Sundown to Sunup Gospel Sing in Springdale, Arkansas (now simply known as the Albert E. Brumley Gospel Sing), which is said to be the largest such event in all the country. He received numerous awards in his life, including induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, and the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame. Albert Edward Brumley “flew away” from the toils of this life on November 15, 1977 and is buried at the Fox Church of Christ Cemetery near Powell, Missouri. God richly blessed us all by sending such a wonderful Christian hymn writer our way!


This entry was posted in Contemporary Hymns and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to This World Is Not My Home

  1. Silas gervas luzelela says:

    Am very excited with this song history. May the Lord bless you much.


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