When I’ve Gone the Last Mile of The Way


Last mile

By Johnson Oatman, Jr.

If I walk in the pathway of duty,
If I work till the close of the day,
I shall see the great King in His beauty,
When I’ve gone the last mile of the way.

Refrain:
When I’ve gone the last mile of the way,
I will rest at the close of the day;
And I know there are joys that await me,
When I’ve gone the last mile of the way.

If for Christ I proclaim the glad story,
If I seek for His sheep gone astray,
I am sure He will show me His glory,
When I’ve gone the last mile of the way.

Here the dearest of ties we must sever,
Tears of sorrow are seen every day;
But no sickness, no sighing forever,
When I’ve gone the last mile of the way.

And if here I have earnestly striven,
And have tried all His will to obey,
’Twill enhance all the rapture of heaven,
When I’ve gone the last mile of the way.

The last mile is extremely important. In a race, it signals the finish. It ushers in the pride of completing the race. I am privileged to live in Kenya, the land of marathon runners. Every international Marathon, my family looks forward to those enduring Kenyans and for sure we are rewarded with a gold or silver medal.

In life, every mile is important—especially the last mile. As the Apostle Paul says in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” The last mile can be a joyful, passionate, fervent, emotional, tearful, doubtful or traumatic experience. Some people have doubts about the last mile—yet they hope it will turn out to their liking.There is no better statement one can make at the end of the last mile.

In 1908 Johnson Oatman Jr wrote this great hymn titled “The Last mile of the way”. I remember singing this hymn with my now late bossom childhood friend Ray Munsaka Slaighter during our high school days. In those days when there were no MP3s or CDs, Ray came one school term with a white cassette of Jimmy Swarggart and this song was on it. It was the only cassette we had and we played it over and over till our dry radio batteries would go flat. Little did I know this song would mean a lot in my later years. I thank God for all my experiences. He is still working on me, to make me what I ought to be.

About the Hymn Writer

Johnson Oatman Jr. was born on April 21, 1856. He was from New Jersey and he can be said to have followed the foot-steps of his father, Johnson Oatman Sr., in many ways. Johnson Oatman Jr. accepted his father’s faith, making it his own. They worked side by side in the family trading business, Johnson Oatman and Son. Although the son sang, his father outshone him with his incredible voice, known not only in the local Methodist Episcopal Church, but throughout the area. Johnson Oatman Jr. would soon find his own niche within Christianity.

When he was nineteen, the younger Johnson became an ordained minister. He served where needed, but never pastored his own church. At age thirty-six, he tried his hand at hymn-writing. He went on to write at least 5,000 hymns in his lifetime. He is the writer of hymns like No not one, Count your blessing name them one by one, Am pressing on the upward way – Higher Ground, The Hallelujah side and the lat mile of the way.

The Last Mile of the way was only published  one year before Wilhelmina, his wife of thirty-one years, passed away. Johnson had another seventeen years before the last mile of his life on earth. In his song he says

If I walk in the pathway of duty,
If I work till the close of the day;
I shall see the great King in His beauty,
When I’ve gone the last mile of the way.”

Following verse one, Johnson identifies Christian service that God will reward: “If for Christ I proclaim the glad story, If I seek for His sheep gone astray,” and later, “And if here I have earnestly striven, And have tried all His will to obey.” The third verse mentions one of the benefits of Heaven as “No sickness, no sighing forever,” and the chorus covers all else our imaginations can’t begin to fathom with the phrase: “And I know there are joys that await me, When I’ve gone the last mile of the way.”

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3 Responses to When I’ve Gone the Last Mile of The Way

  1. isham harris says:

    EVERY PERSON ON EARTH SHOULD LIVE THIS SONG

    Like

  2. isham harris says:

    I love it

    Like

  3. Gibson says:

    hey I love it! I was looking for thoughts to assist me in my preaching appointment on the subject “the last mile”. so I came to your article. its fantastic. I’m gona preach most of it, hey!

    Like

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