JESUS IS ALL THE WORLD TO ME                                            written in 1904

The Story

Newspapers called Will Thompson (1847-1909) the “millionaire songwriter”. In his home state he was called the “Bard of Ohio”. Will showed an early interest in music, and had written several songs before finishing high school. He was able to attend and graduate college, and then music school.

He had gone to New York and had made it big; his secular songs were selling like hotcakes. He wrote one of his most popular songs, “Gathering Sea Shells on the Sea Shore” in ten minutes. It sold 246,000 copies. But he began to make real money when he started his own publishing company.

But Will didn’t really care about his secular success. He cared about Jesus Christ, so he began to write gospel songs. He was as successful with Christian music as he had been earlier with secular music; he sold two million books of quartet music.

He realized a major evangelist like Dwight L. Moody would never get to smaller towns, so he loaded up his upright piano onto a two-horse wagon and took the gospel into the Ohio countryside. “Softly and Tenderly” was his most popular song.

He was in his fifties when he wrote “Jesus Is All the World to Me”. He considered this song his testimony. He would rather introduce Jesus to a small burg in Ohio than to be known as a major songwriter in New York City.

Will became ill on a trip to Europe in 1909, and died shortly thereafter.

This hymn has a unique tune; the last line of each verse is usually sung at a slower tempo.

The Song

            Read this hymn, and – today – examine how much Jesus is worth to you.

Jesus is all the world to me, my life, my joy, my all;
He is my strength from day to day, without Him I would fall.
When I am sad, to Him I go, no other one can cheer me so;
when I am sad, He makes me glad, He’s my Friend.

Jesus is all the world to me, my Friend in trials sore;
I go to Him for blessings, and He gives them o’er and o’er.
He sends the sunshine and the rain, He sends the harvest’s golden grain;
Sunshine and rain, harvest of grain, He’s my Friend.

Jesus is all the world to me, and true to Him I’ll be;
Oh, how could I this Friend deny, when He’s so true to me?
Following Him I know I’m right, He watches o’er me day and night;
Following Him by day and night, He’s my Friend.

Jesus is all the world to me, I want no better Friend;
I trust Him now, I’ll trust Him when life’s fleeting days shall end.
Beautiful life with such a Friend, beautiful life that has no end;
eternal life, eternal joy, He’s my Friend.


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