“One thing I do”

Brethren, I count not myself yet to have apprehended: but one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

  A runner fleet sped o’er the way!
  “One thing I do,” they heard him say;
  “Yon shining goal I must attain!
  While I this vital breath retain—
  “One thing I do.”

  They saw a friend beside him run,
  Then turn aside, and only one
  Kept on the path: his eager tread
  And earnest bearing plainly said,
  “One thing I do.”

  No backward look to view the road
  Left far behind, gave he, but trode
  In haste the upward way before;
  His voice rang sweet o’er hill and moor,
  “One thing I do.”

  “Stay, Paul, thy fathers knew the truth;
  Gamaliel trained thy springing youth;
  Return to Moses! Christ is dead!”
  Like cornet clear his answer said,
  “One thing I do.”

  Forward he pressed! they marked his track,
  Framed Jewish plots to turn him back,
  By slander, persecution, sword;
  Still he proclaimed in work and word,
  “One thing I do.”

  Through darkening night and brightening day,
  He lingered not along the way:
  Storm-clouds may frown, the sun may smile,
  Exulting, sounds that voice the while,
  “One thing I do.”

  Hark! Caesar’s friends join in the cry;
  “Stop! stop this dauntless enemy!”
  Bound in a cell, they heard him sing
  Praise in the night—“With thanksgiving,
  One thing I do.”

  None could his spirit bind; upward
  It rose to where his well-loved Lord
  Had gone; echoed the prison tower—
  That I may know His rising power—
  “One thing I do.”

  The calling high which beams before
  Cheers on his steps where torrents roar;
  “The excellence of Christ,” said he,
  “Fills my glad heart with melody—
  One thing I do.”

  “I have not yet attained!” he cried
  As swift he scaled the mountain side;
  “Nor yet have apprehended all
  For which I heard the Saviour’s call—
  One thing I do.”

  “Not perfected am I, but Christ,
  My risen Lord, in glory waits;
  And that He might become my gain
  I’m running still, nor yet in vain
  One thing I do.”

  With stones beset; cast out as dead;
  The watchers saw him lift his head;
  They gently tended to his need;
  They caught his whisper, “On I speed,
  One thing I do.”

  Well meaning friends to cool his zest
  Attempt, but when be forward pressed
  They meekly said, “God’s will be done”;
  Responded he—“I onward run,
  One thing I do.”

  That figure lone on yon steep way,
  They see, through tears, pass far away;
  His form fades from the straining eye,
  His voice still sounds through air and sky—
  “One thing I do.”

  The lion saw, the nations heard;
  He showed the path, he spake the word,
  He kept the faith and won the prize;
  His stirring message never dies—
  “One thing I do.”