It was once said of the hymn author, Mary James, (and I quote), “I never saw an individual more fully possessed by that love that thinketh no evil, than our beloved Sister James…” (end quote)
Mary was born in 1810 and began teaching Sunday School in her Methodist Church when she was only thirteen. She had about a dozen girls in her class, and soon she was visiting them in their homes…often bearing gifts her mother had made. This was the beginning of a lifetime of ministry for Jesus!
As an adult, Mary’s greatest love was travelling to Methodist camp meetings where she would lead prayer meetings, engage in personal counselling, teach Bible classes, organize workers, share her testimony and sometimes preach. Letter-writing was another arena for Mary’s gifts and she frequently penned encouragement to young pastors just starting their ministries. She was a frequent contributor to popular Christian magazines of her times.
Occasionally, her scribbled notes and thoughts would result in a hymn. In all, she wrote about fifty gospel songs but only her hymn, ALL FOR JESUS, remains popular today. At her death, she was laid to rest in a cemetery in Trenton, New Jersey. Inscribed on her gravestone are the simple words: “All For Jesus”
ALL FOR JESUS, was her commitment in this life!