Only One Life: a poem by C.T. Studd

CC Image courtesy of Olbibigo on Wikipedia

CC Image courtesy of Olbibigo on Wikipedia

I have these rare moments when the world appears as it really is: transient. Meaning-full. Wonderful. Important. But it won’t last forever. It’s not the final stop on this journey. For as long as those moments last, I see my work and wife and marriage and everything as they really are: things to be cared for, worked hard for, grateful for. But they’re not ultimate.

Even my weaknesses. They won’t have the last say.

But those moments are usually just that. Moments. And I’m so thankful for them. I’ve found a poem that seems to capture the moment rightly. I don’t know much about the author, C.T. Studd. But it seems like he really knew about what matters. He really knew Jesus. Here’s his poem:

Only One Life
By C.T. Studd
 
Two little lines I heard one day,
Traveling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart,
And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, 
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
 
Only one life, yes only one,
Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet,
And stand before His Judgement seat;
Only one life,’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
 
Only one life, the still small voice,
Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave,
And to God’s holy will to cleave;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
 
Only one life, a few brief years,
Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its clays I must fulfill,
living for self or in His will;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
 
When this bright world would tempt me sore,
When Satan would a victory score;
When self would seek to have its way,
Then help me Lord with joy to say;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
 
Give me Father, a purpose deep,
In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e’er the strife,
Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
 
Oh let my love with fervor burn,
And from the world now let me turn;
Living for Thee, and Thee alone,
Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
 
Only one life, yes only one,
Now let me say,”Thy will be done”;
And when at last I’ll hear the call,
I know I’ll say “twas worth it all”;
Only one life,’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
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12 comments

  1. Trying to determine correct word “clays” or should it be “days”? I have always seen clays but days sounds more understandable. Want to verify, can you help? Thanks ray

    1. I’ve gone back and forth. If you look at some of the comments, you’ll see that others have too. I agree that “days” seems to make more sense, but “clays” seems to be the original text. I’m still unsure of what it’s referring to.

  2. There’s a definition of “clays” in the Free Dictionary that may shed some light on this issue. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Clays
    Clays synonyms, Clays pronunciation, Clays translation, English dictionary definition of Clays. Marbles made of fired clay rather than glass or agate.

    In common vernacular we sometimes use the expression, I only had so many bullets. As a kid in Northern Ireland I used to play marbles. We’d be careful how we used our marbles in the game so as to make the best usage of them. Perhaps “clays” was a reference to the various time, talent, and treasures that a person has with which he or she needed to be good stewards. That definition would make “clays” a reference to using our abilities and gifts daily for the maximum impact on eternity. Just a thought.

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