BRADY COLUMN: The mile that counts

Published 8:42 pm Monday, July 17, 2023

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Not long ago, I eulogized a friend as “a man who lived on the second mile.” Of course, that’s the mile where love out-distances duty. 

What I meant was that this friend had lived his life full throttle in devotion and helpfulness in the interest of others.  Come to think about it, the second mile is the mile that counts the most. 

Many people go through life doing only those things they are expected or compelled to do.  Often they find life hard, tedious and joyless. Their lives sometimes simply become a drudge. 

On the other hand, there is the excitement of living on the second mile. 

Someone said you never get enthusiastic over the things you are compelled to do but over the things you want to do.  Jesus said, “If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles” (Matthew 5:41).

Jesus lived in the little country of Palestine which was under Roman occupation. There was an unpopular law that stated that a soldier could request a citizen to carry his pack for one mile anytime.

Needless to say? This interruption was not popular with the Jewish people.  But then Jesus came and said don’t stop with that one mile, go another. These listeners must have thought that was crazy talk.  But it wasn’t! 

For here Jesus was giving them a message to live by. The first mile is required while the second is voluntary. The first mile is a must while the second is a choice. Jesus is pointing out that real living goes beyond the mile of duty. 

Another great reward of the second mile is enriching relationships.  A man moved into a neighborhood.  After just a few days, this neighbor phoned his next-door neighbor and angrily complained that his driveway was two feet over their line. 

He demanded they hire a surveyor.  The other neighbor replied, “We don’t need a surveyor.  You go out and get some stakes put them where they should be and I’ll move my driveway.”

I’ll just accept your judgment in the matter.   The neighbor didn’t hear anything for a few days and saw no red stakes. 

One day they met up in the yard and the neighbor asked the angry man about the line.

“O forget the line, there is enough for both of us and two feet one way or another makes no difference.” 

Living on the second mile enriches relationships and builds community-lt’s love over duty.