When I was but a little child, how well I recollect

How I would grieve my mother with my folly and neglect;

And now that she has gone to Heaven, I miss her tender care,

O Savior, tell my mother I’ll be there!


Tell mother I’ll be there, in answer to her prayer;

This message blessed Savior to her bear!

Tell mother I’ll be there, Heaven’s joys with her to share,

Yes, tell my darling mother I’ll be there.


Though I was often wayward, she was always kind and good;

So patient, gentle, loving when I acted rough and rude;

My childhood griefs and trials, she would gladly with me share,

O Savior, tell my mother I’ll be there!


One day a message came to me, it bade me quickly come.

If I would see my mother ere the Savior took her home;

I promised her, before she died, for Heaven to prepare,

O Savior, tell my mother I’ll be there!


William McKinley was a lawyer, Sunday school teacher, congressman, and governor of Ohio before he became the 25th President of the United States. He always sent a daily message to his mother by telegraph or by mail.  


In 1897, his mother became ill, so he had a special telegraph wire installed from the White House to his mother’s home in Ohio. When he received word that her condition had worsened, he sent a return message that said, “Tell mother I’ll be there.” 


Charles M. Fillmore (1860-1952), a songwriter, was so impressed by this story that he composed a hymn which had a tremendous impact on many people through the years.  


Charles Alexander (1867-1920) was a popular gospel singer who carried this story with him to his evangelistic services and sang it one evening in Newton, Kansas, resulting in many men deciding to make a change in their lives. One man confessed that the song had a bigger influence on him than any preaching. Another man even called Mr. Alexander saying he could not rest after hearing him sing this song. The next morning, he made plans to visit his mother and tell her of his decision to become a Christian.


I find it interesting how the hand of God orchestrated these events. The kindness of a president (McKinley) to his mother was noted, which caught the attention of a songwriter (Fillmore).  Then, an evangelistic singer decided to use this song in many services throughout his travels, which made quite an impact on many who heard him.


The mothers of these men were instrumental in shaping their lives as well.  The President’s mother always walked with her children to Sunday school every Sunday, and Charles Fillmore’s mother gathered her family around the fireplace many evenings to read a sermon to them.

This shows how God has a plan for each of us. And we never know how far-reaching our actions may go. Nothing is too small when it’s done for the Lord. We just need to allow Him to direct our steps.


Ephesians 6:2-3, “Honor your father and mother, ‘which is the first commandment with promise’ that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”