Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Extra Mile

In the military there are levels of reward that are above the monthly paycheck. Financial compensation is given to those who successfully do what is required of them. But for those who go above and beyond, there are medals and citations and other forms of recognition.

The same holds true in the scholastic world. Some will graduate having completed the necessities for graduation while others will get awards for having reached way beyond the minimum requirements.

In business, bonuses are often handed out for those who excel in their work; those who exceed expectations.

In my business I have had employees in the past who have expected a paycheck simply for showing up for work. They had no sense of having to really accomplish something of value. There was a naivety or arrogance or entitlement mentality that was quite confusing and annoying for me and my partners.  

I have seen the same kind of attitude in couples that are married. Some spouses have expectations that they deserve this or that simply because they made it successfully through the wedding ceremony.

One of the things we tell guys in our men’s group is that you don’t get points for meeting the minimum requirements of a marriage, for doing the things that are your reasonable service. These are things like holding down a job, sharing in the domestic chores with a working wife, or participating in the parenting of the children.

We get the phrase “going the extra mile” from the Bible. It was a law that when asked by a Roman soldier, one was required to carry his pack for one mile, but no more. It was a hated law intended to communicate subjugation and power. 

But Jesus asks us to go above and beyond, and go an extra mile.

The extra mile always requires sacrifice, whether time, or energy or money. It may mean doing something that is difficult or distasteful or humbling, like being patient with an unreasonable spouse and not giving in to anger or defensiveness. Or it may mean giving up a favorite television show to really focus on your mate when they need to talk about a difficult day. Yes, even a major sports program or a “chick flick”.

But this is where the rewards are found. This is where you get points. It’s this extra effort invested in a relationship that makes it exceptional.

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