Going the Extra Mile

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“They gave not only as much as they could afford, but far more, and quite spontaneously.”
— 2 Corinthians 8:3-4

Going the extra mile for others can sound like a commendable thing to do. It’s something I try to do often, and is probably why I even thought of giving my life to the priesthood.

Yet I’ve come to also discover how I may sometimes ‘go the extra mile’ just to gain something for myself, to look good in front of others, to prove my self-worth to others. Sometimes I do it without even realizing it, but have been conditioned to do so in order to gain recognition or self-worth.

“Be perfect just as your Heavenly Father is perfect.”
— Mt 5:48

I’ve come to realize how our society has conditioned us to ‘do more’ in order to be ‘perfect’ or ‘good enough’. We make perfection an economical verb (to do), when it should be an ontological statement of truth (to be).

In this past year, only when I’ve finally believed deep within me that I already am enough, am already made perfect as my Heavenly Father is perfect, then I spend less time being concerned about whether my actions are good enough. Rather, I turn inward instead of outward, and draw from my deep conviction and security of who I am in my Father’s eyes, and allow the truth of my goodness and perfection flow out into my actions. In other words, I start to go the extra mile not because of what I ought to do, but because it flows naturally from the true gift that I am, created to be a gift to others.

Two weeks ago, the men in the community went the extra mile to serve the sisters in community and honor them for the perfect gift that God made them to be. We were not there to ‘impress them’ or gain brownie points for ourselves. We were there to rise up to our true identity and perfection as men of God, and treat our sisters with dignity and honor. They in turn rose up to that same identity and perfection as women of God, and went the extra mile to honor and affirm us as men.

Through this School and Community, I am learning to go the extra mile and be perfect, not to become somebody, but because I am already a perfect gift from God, and need to continue rising up to that true potential and identity.

 

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Featured image: Darpan Dodiya on Unsplash / PD-US.
Nicholas Lye

Nicholas Lye

Nicholas Lye is a Singaporean currently on a year's sabbatical from the seminary, discerning his path in life and striving to facilitate encounters with God in the workplace and ordinary life.

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