It says in Matthew chapter 5 verse 41 “If someone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.” (NIV.) These are the words Jesus spoke during what is known as the Sermon on the Mount. In His day on earth Roman soldiers had the right to force civilians to carry their packs one mile, something most Jewish people would resent even going the first mile. He was hardly courting popularity when He said that. But the principle can be applied in other circumstances, not just those that are most onerous. I am reminded of an incident that happened back in the mid-1990s, 1995 I think, if I remember correctly.
I had been up in the woods around Loch Morlich, trying out a new camera and recording some of the remains of the logging railways left by the Canadian Forestry Corps during the First World War. I was returning from that and walking through the Car Park at Loch Morlich on my way to catch the bus back to Aviemore. When I noticed an Asian family ahead, the mother was trying to take a picture of her husband and son. They were standing near a sapling, when the mother turned to me and asked me to take a picture of the three of them. I have to admit that my initial reaction was far from enthusiastic. My own camera had been packed away by this time so they was no indication to them that I had an interest in photography. She showed me where the shutter button was and that all I had to do was point at them and click. She went over to pose beside her family. They smiled nervously back at me while readied myself to take the picture. The picture I was taking was in the landscape format. As I was taking it it became clear to me that the ideal format was the portrait one. So after taking the one they had asked to me, I offered to take another, at the same time I began to rotate the camera by 90 degrees the family’s faces broke out in beaming smiles. Clearly this was the shot they really wanted, but thought it too much to ask. It did not take a lot, just an attitude of not being content with doing the bare minimum. Now, I do not know who this family were, or what the religious beliefs were. I cannot recall what words were spoken afterwards before I went on my way to catch my bus, if any. But I suspect they still treasure that photo. It did not take a lot but it made a big impact. It is all too easy to say that when more is required “That is not my job!” Yet we also have to admit that more often than not, that is what we have done. If we are just working for some bunch of greedy fat cats then we are being reasonable but we are also working for the King of Kings as well. So, sometimes it is necessary to go the extra mile.
David Rose, 2014.