Friday, December 04, 2009

Dr. James A. Francis and "One Solitary Life"

Here's something I'm sure you've heard or read before but its significance is timeless. Plus you might want a copy for use in your Advent activities: reading it to your kids, using it as a after-dinner devotional, a reading in church, etc.

It was written by James Allan Francis (1864–1928) and the San Joaquin Library has this to say about the piece -- "'One Solitary Life' is a story first told by Dr. James Allen Francis at the First Baptist Church of Los Angeles in a sermon, 'Arise, Sir Knight.' It was delivered on July 11, 1926 to the National Baptist Young Peoples' Union. Later, Dr. Francis included it as the last sermon in his book, The Real Jesus And Other Sermons published by Judson Press in 1926...Before Rev. Francis died at age 64 on June 30, 1928, he apparently rewrote the story in past tense with several minor changes.

One Solitary Life

He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in still another village, where he worked in a carpenter shop until he was thirty. Then for three years he was an itinerant preacher.

He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family or owned a house. He didn't go to college.

He never visited a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where he was born. He did none of the things one usually associates with greatness. He had no credentials but himself.

He was only thirty-three when the tide of public opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. 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 he was 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 he is the central figure of the human race and the leader of mankind's progress.

All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man on this earth as much as that One Solitary Life.