Though technically not a “hymn” this children’s chorus has a great deal to teach us about the love of Christ. The point behind the words–Jesus loves everybody. It’s an all-inclusive, not a semi-exclusive event. The song writer could easily have included young and old, rich and poor in the delineation of those who find themselves loved by Jesus.

Sadly, several years ago, hymn compilers for some of the major denominations took offense at the wording, suggesting that the words were racially inflammatory, and thus exchanging “red and yellow, black and white they are precious in His sight” with “Every color, every race, all are covered by His grace” as a politically correct alternative, which (in politicizing the song) actually changes the point made by Clare H. Woolston in the late 1800s.

Another version attempts to improve on the inclusiveness by inserting “brown” (Red, brown, yellow, black and white), which, at least for me is a less offensive change, but it’s still not what we grew up with.

My point, and why did I choose this song this week(?): Jesus loves you–whoever you are–wherever you are–without distinction. And that, I believe, is what Woolston was after when he wrote the words so long ago. So, sing with me–and since it’s a kid’s song, be a kid again and sing like your life depends on it and you mean it. (Be sure that you are using George Root’s 1864 tune “Tramp! Tramp! Tramp!”)

  1. Jesus calls the children dear,
    “Come to Me and never fear,
    For I love the little children of the world;
    I will take you by the hand,
    Lead you to the better land,
    For I love the little children of the world.”

    • Refrain:
      *Jesus loves the little children,
      [*Jesus died for all the children,]
      All the children of the world;
      Red and yellow, black and white,
      All are precious in His sight,
      *Jesus loves the little children of the world.
      [*Jesus died for all the children of the world.]
  2. Jesus is the Shepherd true,
    And He’ll always stand by you,
    For He loves the little children of the world;
    He’s a Savior great and strong,
    And He’ll shield you from the wrong,
    For He loves the little children of the world.
  3. I am coming, Lord, to Thee,
    And Your soldier I will be,
    For You love the little children of the world;
    And Your cross I’ll always bear,
    And for You I’ll do and dare,
    For You love the little children of the world.

*Alternate text for refrain