Words & Music: , 1909:

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 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.

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 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.


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.