Sometimes my job requires going the extra mile. I’m sure this is true of most people, but for us—agents at American Income Life—it can often mean literally driving an extra mile, or two, or, in my case this week, one hundred. A union member didn’t feel comfortable sharing his info over the phone, so I drove two hours to meet him and go over his options. While on the road, I started thinking about going the extra mile and how making an extra effort is nine times out of ten rewarded in some way. Maybe not in dollars and cents, but I am a firm believer in my wise mother-in-law’s saying that if you cast your bread upon the water, it will come back to you as a sandwich. In other words, the gifts that you give will come back to you in greater proportion than you gave. I have seen this over and over in my own life. In fact, my entire adult life has been shaped by one act of kindness.
As a recent college graduate, an acquaintance needed a ride and I offered to give him one. Now this was no ordinary “Hey, can you give me a ride to the corner store?” ride. This was a 15-hour, 800-mile, two-way trek. I offered thinking he would probably turn it down. But he didn’t, so I drove from Knoxville to Jackson, Mississippi, got out of the car and was greeted by this acquaintance, only to realize in an instant that I loved this man, and we have been married for over twenty-two years now. I can’t imagine my life without that one “Sure, I can do that” and all the many blessings which have followed from it.
Reflecting on that instance has given me a boost of confidence in being, whenever possible, outrageously, foolishly generous. It doesn’t have to be money, or things, or long drives across the country. Maybe it’s the few extra minutes you spend listening to someone who needs a friendly ear. Maybe it’s the card you send or the smile you give or the prayer you offer up.
While driving the extra mile the other day, I was listening to a John Maxwell podcast that had been shared with me. He was talking about how we can prepare ourselves for whatever lies ahead. Along with being adaptable, promoting discussion and humility, he talked about the importance of being open-handed. The closed-fisted will be unable to grab hold of opportunity when it comes their way. I encourage us all to live open-handed and go the extra mile. You never know who or what you might pick up along the way.