Therefore You alone, my Savior, Shall be all in all to me. The HYMN OF THE DAY, “One Thing’s Needful” (536) was first described, when printed in the 1697 Geistreiches Gesangbuch of Halle, as “Concerning the denial of self and the world, St. Luke 10.42” (But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her).
Jesus’ teaching is vastly different from what we experience in the world. The Christian life is different from those around us because of Our Treasure: Jesus.
Using the example of Mary and Martha, the hymn shows Christ as our Treasure, our true source of life. Sitting at Jesus’ feet and hearing His teaching, Mary “all earthly concerns she forgot for her Lord.”
So also, in Christ, Christians put aside anything that keeps us from His Word and Sacraments: “Therefore, You alone, my Savior, Shall be all in all to me!”
For Christians, all time and responsibilities revolve around our Treasure: Divine Service, daily prayer, and life in His Word. “This one thing is needful, all others are vain: I count all but loss that I Christ may obtain.”
Author Johann H. Schröder (1667-1699) uses a unique metric structure for his text, desiring to move away from the smooth meters of earlier hymns. Originally ten stanzas, the first four focused on Jesus’ visit with Mary and Martha, followed by focus on 1 Corinthians 1.30 (But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption).
The tune is by Adam Krieger (1634-1666), a student of noted Lutheran composers Samuel Scheidt and Heinrich Schütz.
The stanzas omitted from Lutheran Service Book:
- Wilt thou find this one thing needful, Turn from all created things
Unto Jesus and be heedful, Of the blessed joy He brings.
For where God and man both in one are united,
With God’s perfect fullness the heart is delighted;
There, there, is the worthiest lot and the best,
My One and my All and my Joy and my Rest.
- Thus my longings, heavenward tending, Jesus, rest alone on Thee
Help me, thus on Thee depending; Savior come and dwell in me.
Although all the world should forsake and forget Thee,
In love I will follow Thee, ne’er will I quit Thee.
Lord Jesus, both spirit and life is Thy Word;
And is there a joy which Thou dost not afford?
- Let my soul, in full exemption, Wake up in Thy likeness now;
Thou art made to me Redemption, My Sanctification Thou.
Whatever I need for my journey to heaven,
In Thee, O my Savior, is unto me given;
Oh, let me all perishing pleasure forego,
And Thy life, O Jesus, alone let me know.
- Where should else my hopes be centered? Grace o’erwhelms me with its flood;
Thou, my Savior, once hast entered, Holiest heaven through Thy blood
Eternal redemption for sinners there finding,
From hell’s dark dominion my spirit unbinding,
To me perfect freedom Thy entrance has brought,
And childlike to cry, “Abba, Father,” I’m taught.
- Christ Himself, my Shepherd feeds me, Peace and joy my spirit fill;
In a pasture green He leads me, Forth beside the waters still.
Oh, naught to my soul is so sweet and reviving
As thus unto Jesus alone to be living;
True happiness this, and this only, supplies,
Through faith on my Savior to fasten mine eyes.
Unseal our lips to sing Thy praise The ENTRANCE HYMN, “Lord Jesus Christ, Be Present Now” (902) reflects the words of Psalm 51.15 “O Lord, open Thou my lips: and my mouth shall show forth Thy praise,” a fitting beginning to the Divine Service.