The First Mile
In our culture of over-achievers, we tend to focus on going farther... on going the second mile. And Jesus clearly said we are to be willing to do that. But to begin the second mile, we must complete the first. We must be ordinary before we can hope to be excellent.
A south Alabama track meet was a showcase for a fine young athlete expected to shatter the state record in the mile. He was the race... no one else could come close to him in ability. No one in the packed stands gave a glance toward the pale, scrawny kid lined up on the outside. He was nobody special... nothing to notice.
The gun sounded. As expected, the star runner looped the track like a sprinter, pulling away from the pack with yards to spare. As he broke the tape, the crowd roared. Another runner finished second... then third... then fourth. The loudspeaker announced the winner’s time, a new state record. But the race wasn’t over. One runner was struggling for the finish line all alone. When he crossed it, he collapsed, gasping for breath. When coaches rushed over to lift him up, one of them chided him for running: “Son, what were you thinking? You’re no miler, and this is a championship race. You couldn’t hope to win.”
“Sir,” he said, “we had us a boy who could run the mile, but he took sick. Coach asked me to run in his place. He didn’t send me down here to win... he sent me down here to run a mile, and Mister, I ran a mile.”
And whoever shall force you to go one mile, go with him two (Matthew 5:41).
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