I’ve been thinking about going the extra mile this week. It’s been a big week and there’s been need to go the extra mile.
As I’ve contemplated the thought, I suddenly realised that there’s times when going the extra mile isn’t the hard part. Sometimes knowing which direction to go in is actually where the difficulty lies.
My parents always taught me to be forward thinking, to use initiative, and to go the extra mile. That teaching stems from Jesus sermon in Matthew 5:38-42 where He says;
And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.
There’s been times when I’ve thought I was doing the right thing. I was going the extra mile, but heading in completely the wrong direction.
I’m not sure if you’ve ever done that, but it’s definitely something to be avoided. As we serve a boss, a Pastor, leader, or team, we need to make sure we’re doing the things that really need doing. After all there’s nothing worse than having to back track, or re-do things, especially when you thought you were going above and beyond.
If we’re going to be affective in our extra efforts, we’re going to have to be a little more thoughtful. There’s a few things we need to put in place so we don’t end up a mile in the wrong direction.
Here’s three thoughts on how to go the extra mile, but in the right direction;
1. Know who you’re serving. To really serve the needs of others, you need to know them. It’s when we make presumptions about people, or even God, that we that we make mistakes. To avoid this, do your very best to gain an understanding of how they think and how they approach things. Learn from the way they’ve responded in the past. Think through their likes and dislikes, gauge these from other experiences you’ve already had. If you get to know who you’re serving you’ll be well on the way to doing what is truly needed.
2. Know your role and place. Doing more than is expected is a great quality. The trouble comes when we do things that aren’t expected, before completing the things that are. This usually ends in trouble.
It’s easy to justify doing things that aren’t ours to do, we sometimes call it going the extra mile. This is usually a justification for avoiding our own role. It’s an excuse for putting off the things we know we’re actually meant to be doing.
Instead, know what your role is and do that. Then, and only then, move on to doing the extra things. Never try to justify not doing your own role by calling it going the extra mile. You’re not going to fool anyone but yourself.
3. Know yourself and your motive. In Church life people volunteer for all sorts of reasons. They then go the extra mile for equally diverse reasons. If you’re going to go the extra mile, and not end up in the wrong direction, then you’re going to need to know why you’re doing it. If it’s to please someone or to make yourself look good then you’re probably not going to get very far down the road before you realise you’re not where you want to be. So before taking on more than has been asked, make sure you know exactly what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. It’s when we tell ourselves lies, that we end up confusing right from wrong. The net result is often finding ourselves somewhere down a track we should never have gone down regretting we ever ‘went the extra mile’ in the first place.
Over to you…
Have you ever gone the extra mile, only to find that your a mile down the road in the wrong direction? How do you avoid doing that? Add your comments in the section below.