A few words as we travel on

First, go read this, then come back and we’ll talk.

(I had a link to “The Dash Poem,” but it appears that the work is under copyright.)

chickenlifeisgoodToday is the 3rd of February, 2009. My days often run into a blur, and sometimes I forget what day it is, what the date is. Once or twice, I even forgot what month it was. Yes, sometimes I go days without looking at my agenda. So I need to tell myself that today is the 3rd of February. (Somewhere January whizzed by me.)

I haven’t counted, but an online service tells me there are 331 days left in the year.

But I don’t have 331 days to count on. I have … one.


I may feel lousy. (I felt really lousy yesterday.) I may feel great. I may feel productive, or it may seem like the day wasted. I may feel on top of the world spiritually, or I may be trudging through the mud.

But today is all I have. The now is my only moment to count on.

So I decided to write the people I love most, tell you that I love you, ask your forgiveness for my failings, let you know I’m doing my best at family, life, work and faith.

I’m thankful to be a son of God, a disciple of Christ, a recipient for the Spirit’s presence in this world.

You’ve probably already read my mission in life:

“to be a man of God, a follower of Christ, a servant of all, a prism of God’s mercy; to speak and write words full of grace, in order to move every person toward the Master, and to equip each one for every good work.”

This is the second or third year since I’ve written out that particular mission statement, but it’s been in my spiritual DNA as long as I can remember. Every part of it.

My Bible verse for this year I think I’ve used before, but it’s one that focuses where I want to go:

“But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4 ESV).

The first word in that sentence is an acknowledgment that there are many good things to do in this world. In the context, widows were not being cared for properly in the new Jerusalem church. The apostles had invited the Christians to choose good and godly men to oversee that compassionate work. “But …” the Twelve weren’t going to do that particular job. Not that caring for widows wasn’t important in the grand scheme of things. But they had been called to another task. And they knew that to be faithful to their calling, they should continue doing what they were doing, without getting sidetracked in other things, even good things.

I want and need that same focus of Acts 6:4, that same concentration on what I have been called to do. For when I maintain that focus (and when you do what you have been called to do), we will make The Dash, that space between our birth dates and that date that marks our death, meaningful, useful and glorifying to God.

Otherwise, we’re just marking time, and any dumb clock can do that.

So here we are, on the 3rd of February, 2009.

I love you, and want the best for all of us, because that’s what God wants, and I want us all to find our place in his kingdom, so that our lives are not only blessed, but will be a blessing as well. And all that will mean God gets the credit.

So today we start. Again. You and I. With humility, and gratitude, and generosity, and whole-hearted surrender to the Almighty.

Maybe you need to start here: http://gospel.randal.fastmail.fm/.

Maybe you need to pick up your cross again and step up the hill behind the Lord Jesus Christ.

Or maybe you just need to keep on trucking, be you early or late in the process, until rings that final bell.

Wherever you are, I pray for you today, and ask you to pray for me, that we walk the path of God, discover his grace, embrace his holiness, proclaim his love.

Because it just doesn’t get any better than this, on this 3rd day of February, 2009.

J. Randal Matheny

Be pithy.

14 thoughts on “A few words as we travel on

  1. Very nice thoughts for all. Maybe one day we will meet. Until then I am thankful that there are men like you who still desire to be a servant of God. That is my only real desire. To serve our Lord and be ready for when He returns. My prayer is for you as well as all of our brethren that we will boldly carry on the faith. In doing so we will teach the lost the good news, encourage each other to do better and build up the church. I will continue to pray for you in your work.

  2. Hello J. Randal,

    I have no doubt in my heart that you can, without fear of correction, freely apply 2 Tim 4:7 to your life’s accomplishments.

    The day I met you, my life was enriched and each day since, has been blessed by your touch in tought and word.
    If anyone doubts your relationship with Christ, they should probably re-evaluate their own.

    Love you man, (in a manly christian sort of way)

  3. That last one must have been my daughter at home, who didn’t know I was logged in automatically on the PC. 🙂

  4. This was so amazing for me today. Sometimes I get so caught up in the I can’t wait until. . . Im wishing my life away. Taking the time to say hey this is the 3rd of February and Im just going to live today and really apply that is difficult. But today IS all I have. Thanks for reminding me 😉

  5. This is from Vicki. Thank you for the reminder that I only have today so there is no need to worry about tomorrow. If the Lord grants me tomorrow, that will take care of itself. The Dash is very important to me. I love you and am thankful to have you in my life.

  6. Thanks for the words Dad. I hope and pray the Lord has great things for us to accomplish yet.

  7. I am so glad Tansy forwarded this to me. I am a planner, organizer and like a scheduled life.
    Needless to say, the uncertainty of the times and consistent change can throw someone that is a type “A” & “OCD” into chaos.
    It has been a tremendous work, still in progress, balancing plans and goals with living for today because that is what I know I have….This Minute, This Time, This Day.
    God has been disciplining me for the past six months through many trails to do exactly that –“To Live in the Present” and “Live for Today”, “To make the Day Count for Good”.
    You know what; it brings me such peace, the most perfect peace that only comes from my Father.

  8. With great wisdom comes great responsibility. Thank you for taking on the responsibility.

    Keep on keepin’ on. Your are appreciated!

    You and your family are in my constant thoughts and prayers.


  9. Glad you brought this back. I needed to read it. This week has been a real problem for me. Was diagnosed with an ulcer this week and been trying to cope with the pain with little success. I believe I have been overcome by something I should have overcome. Lesson learned. Thanks, again.

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