One Solitary Life
By James Allan Francis (1864-1928)
He was born in an obscure village
The child of a peasant woman.
He grew up in another obscure village
Where he worked in a carpenter shop
Until he was thirty.
He never wrote a book.
He never held an office.
He never went to college.
He never visited a big city.
He never traveled more than two hundred miles
From the place where he was born.
He did none of the things
Usually associated with greatness.
He had no credentials but himself.
He was only thirty three.
His friends ran away, and
One of them denied him.
He was turned over to his enemies
And went through the mockery of a trial.
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.
While dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing,
The only property he had on earth.
When he was dead
He was laid in a borrowed grave
Through the pity of a friend.
Nineteen centuries have come and gone
And today Jesus is the central figure of the human race
And the leader of mankind's progress.
All the armies that have ever marched,
All the navies that have ever sailed,
All the parliaments that have ever sat,
All the kings that ever reigned, put together,
Have not affected the life of mankind on earth
As powerfully as that one solitary life.
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