They say the Master’s coming to honor the town today,
and no one can tell at whose house or home the Master will choose to stay.
But I thought as my heart beat wildly, what if He would come to mine?
How I would strive to entertain and honor this Guest Divine.
So, straight I turned to toiling to make my home more neat –
I swept, and vacuumed, and dusted, and dressed it with flowers sweet.
I was troubled for fear that the Master might come ‘fore my work was done;
So I hustled and worked the faster, and watched the hurrying sun.
But right in the midst of my duties a woman came to my door.
She came to tell me her troubles, my comfort and aid to implore.
But I said, “I am sorry, but I cannot help today;
I’ve got greater things to tend to.” And the woman turned away.
But soon there came another, a cripple, thin, pale and gray,
and said, “Let me stop and rest a while in your home, I humbly pray.
I’ve traveled far since morning; I’m hungry, faint and weak;
My heart is full of misery, comfort and help I seek.”
I said, “I’m truly sorry, but I cannot help today;
I look for a great and noble Guest.” So the cripple went on his way.
The day moved onward swiftly, and my tasks were nearly done;
A prayer was ever in my heart that the Master to me might come.
In my mind, I sprang to meet him, to serve him with utmost care,
when a little child stood by my side, with a face so sweet and fair –
Sweet, with the marks of tear-drops; his clothes were tattered and old;
a finger was bruised and bleeding, his poor little feet so cold.
I said, “I am sorry for you. You are surely in need of care;
but I can’t stop to give it. You must hasten on elsewhere.”
At my words a shadow crept over his blue-veined brow,
“Someone will feed and clothe you, son; I’m just too busy now.”
At last the day was ended. My work was over and done.
My home was swept and vacuumed; and I watched in the dark alone –
Watched – but no footsteps sounded. No one passed by my gate.
No one entered my cottage door. I could only pray and wait.
I watched ‘til the night had deepened, and the Master had not yet come.
He had entered another’s door, and gladdened some other home.
My labor had been for nothing. I bowed my head and wept.
My heart was sore with longing; but in spite of it all, I slept.
Then the Master stood before me, his face was grave but fair;
“Three times today I came to your door, and craved your pity and care;
Three times today you turned me away, unhelped and uncomforted;
the blessing you sought is now lost, and your chance to serve has fled.
“Oh, Lord, dear Lord, forgive me. How could I know it was Thee?”
My saddened soul was so ashamed, as I began that wretched plea.
He spoke again, “The sin I pardon, but the blessing is lost to thee;
For in comforting not the least of these, you have failed to comfort Me.