In order to simplify my workout life, I decided sign up for Milwaukee’s Race for the Cure (click here to donate – it’s for a great cause!). The reason this simplifies my workout life is that it entices me to get on a training schedule and, thus, I don’t have to think about what workout to do every morning. I have an excellent 5K training plan from runnersworld.com that I’ve used with success in the past.
Since I am just starting out, the mileage is not super high, so today’s goal was 4-6 miles easy. I decided to go 4 miles (I was feeling a little lazy and also wanted to get on with my day). The first mile was OK – warming up is pretty fun. The next mile was boring. The third mile was even more boring. However, once I got toward the end of my run, I started feeling really good and told my husband (who was on the treadmill next to mine, cooling down from his seven mile jog – he’s a machine) that I’d decided to go an extra mile.
“That would be a good blog post,” he said. So here we go…
The first thing people think of when they hear “Going the Extra Mile” is going above and beyond the call of duty. It is common in the business world for management to ask employees to go the extra mile (meaning work longer and harder) in order to meet certain deadlines or otherwise achieve success. This is not necessarily a bad thing, assuming that promised rewards are distributed in a timely manner and employees don’t burn out.
But going the extra mile doesn’t just have to do with business. In fact, the origin of this idiom is from the Sermon on the Mount:
“If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.”
Here, Jesus is teaching his followers to love their enemies. Roman soldiers would frequently “ask” the locals to carry equipment/food for a certain distance until another “volunteer” was obliged to take over the burden. Jesus is saying, if you are forced to go one mile, go two. Surprise your enemy by going the extra mile.
Today, The Huffington Post published an op-ed by my Ph.D. husband titled “Anti-Mosque Sentiment In America: Lessons From Europe?”. It received quite a bit of comments. Some of these comments expressed fear, ignorance, and hatred. The authors of these comments seem to consider Muslims collectively their enemies. I’m pretty sure many of these readers also consider themselves Christian. So, per Jesus’ teachings, wouldn’t the logical response be: “So you want to build an Islamic Community Center near Ground Zero? Let me help you with that.”
This reminds me of a Rich Mullins quote: “… I guess that’s why God invented highlighters, so we can highlight the parts we like and ignore the rest.”
Food for thought…
The next time an irksome co-worker or a difficult client needs a hand, go the extra mile. It doesn’t have to mean burning the midnight oil and it can transform relationships in ways that cannot be measured in time or money. If we all did this on a regular basis, the world would be a much better (and safer) place.