“Jesus Shall Reign Where’re the Sun” is considered by many to be the first great missionary hymn. It was written at a time when the church was doing little missionary work.
Isaac Watts, the author, envisioned a day when Jesus would reign throughout the world — wherever the sun shines, from shore to shore. His original verses envisioned a time when all people — princes, savage tribes, people of all languages, even infants — would praise Jesus’ name. Current hymnals have modernized the language somewhat.
If Watts were alive today, he would be amazed at the realization of his dream. As the sun makes its journey around the world on a Sunday morning, Christians in every time zone awake and get dressed and go to church to praise Jesus Christ. I think that Watts would be pleased.
Christ calls only a few of us to be missionaries, but he calls each of us to proclaim the Gospel. He calls each of us to give time and money to support the work of the church. He calls each of us to care about each other — and to care about people around the world.
As we sing this hymn, I invite you to do two things. First, consider all the Christians who have sacrificed comfort, safety — even life itself — to make Jesus known around the world. Second, ask yourself what Christ is calling you to do.
— Copyright 2006, Richard Niell Donovan