Do what little you can

by Lina Sandell and translated by Mark Safstrom

Do what little you can, your heart cheerful and light,
Opportunities soon disappear!
After spring comes the fall, day is followed by night
It could be that no dawn will appear.
While you still have the time, O, be diligent, sow!
A great harvest will peacefully grow.

Do what little you can, don’t regard it as small
If it seems like your labor’s in vain.
For how can you with joy then continue at all
If you’re counting the jobs that remain?
It was you that he chose, O, what more can you ask?
Just rejoice in your heavenly task!

Do what little you can, do your work selflessly;
Do it all for your Savior alone,
And be sure he will not judge the scale as do we,
Great or small, that is not his concern.
It is he brings the growth, do not worry at all,
If he placed you in charge of the small.

Do what little you can, and remember our Lord
is concerned first with our faithfulness!
And rejoice that your charge is to carry his Word;
His great strength our weak efforts will bless.
O, just think of your joy when he’ll say gratefully,
“What you did for the least was for me!”

Karolina Wilhelmina Sandell-Berg (1832-1903) is among the most beloved and prolific of the revival hymn writers of the 19th century with thousands of poems to her credit. This hymn is titled, “Gör det lilla du kan.”

See all articles by Lina Sandell

Mark Safstrom is Chief Editor of Pietisten, and teaches Swedish language and Scandinavian literature at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

See all articles by Mark Safstrom