In a world full of motivational speakers and self-help books, I’m sure we have all heard the saying “go the extra mile”. If you’re anything like me, you start wondering where these sayings are even from and who made them up? I would say I’m either curious or just straight-up annoying. Probably annoying. Definitely annoying.
Trying to get more insight on this, I headed straight to Google, which told me to check out my Bible – go figure, huh? “Going the extra mile” may seem like a sports or business slogan, but it’s actually right there in Matthew… Matthew 5:41. If you didn’t read that in a James Bond voice, GTFO. It goes a lil something like this, “If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.” Going the extra mile, y’all. You heard it here!
During that time, Roman soldiers marched around and were actually allowed by law to command anyone to carry their weapons for a mile (do their betch-work, if you will). So picture yourself walking along, proud that you peeled yourself off the couch, and a soldier makes you carry his guns and equipment. You’re probably intimidated by his authority, terrified because you’ve skipped arms at the gym for like 8 months now, and a little surprised at how he is LiTeRaLlY being sO RuDe.
This is where we get “go the extra mile” from. Jesus tells us not only to go one mile with the soldier while holding his equipment, but to go a mile more than required. When was the last time someone went the extra mile for you? I bet an instance immediately popped in your head. Was it the lady at Chipotle giving you a lil extra guac? Was it someone complimenting you on your new haircut?
Let me be the first to say that going the extra mile for someone who we think is undeserving can be so hard on the ego… BUT it’s so so so so important in a world that has so many broken people. You’re broken. I’m broken. The soldier demanding you to carry his heavy equipment is broken. Can you imagine what going the extra mile with that soldier would have done? That once demanding and intimidating soldier all of a sudden has a different attitude. A different day. All it takes is one extra literal and figurative mile, and both the giving and receiving ends were #goodvibesonly (I’ll be asking for forgiveness for that hashtag later because what is a vibe and how do I know if its good?)
My point here: No one expects you to go the extra mile. No one expects you to go beyond the bare minimum. No one expects you to be selfless, to have no regard for yourself. No one expects you to love enemies, and to pray for those who persecute you (shoutout to the big homie Matthew for dropping so much truth in one book)
Isn’t it nice to be unexpected? To be that breath of fresh air someone needs? There aren’t many who light up a room quite like those who are generous beyond means and selfless in every way… y’know, the extra-milers.
This was actually really hard to write for me since I’m definitely not the first one to be super positive or selfless… I’m usually making sarcastic comments or complaining about being cold. How many times have you and I heard “go the extra mile” and brushed it off as another saying that Nike puts on a shirt? Too many. Going the extra mile isn’t a laser-focus on our own personal agenda, but the exact opposite. I hope when you (or I) hear the phrase, you think about where it originally comes from. I hope you think of others. I hope you surprise others. I hope you are unexpected.
PS I know this was a lil sentimental, but you know ya girl is still hard *kisses bicep* *misses and kisses air* *uncomfortably unrolls sleeves*