When the Roll Is Called

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries2 Minutes

As he surveyed those attending the youth meeting, James Milton Black was disappointed. Born on this day in South Hill, New York, in 1856, he had spent much of his life in Gospel music. He started his musical career with Moody Bible Institute before moving to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, where he taught Sunday school and edited hymn books.

But on that day in 1893, he was struck by the absence of a particular girl. Black commented, “Well, I trust when the roll is called up yonder, she’ll be there.” When he tried to lead the group in song, none seemed appropriate.

Later, his mind returned to that moment. “This lack of a fitting song caused me both sorrow and disappointment. An inner voice seemed to say, ‘Why don’t you write one?’” When he arrived at home, he began crying as he thought about that roll call “up yonder.” Sitting down at his piano, words and music came to him “effortlessly.” Sensing God’s blessing, he felt he could not “change a single note or word.”

He wrote, “When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound, and time shall be no more, and the morning breaks, eternal, bright and fair; when the saved of earth shall gather over on the other shore, and the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.” But, he knew that many would not be there. He called for Christians to “labor for the Master from the dawn till setting sun” to reach the unsaved with the Gospel.

Today, make sure that you are ready for that roll call in Heaven. And dedicate your time, talent, and treasure to God’s Kingdom that others might know Him.