Regular readers of this blog may have noticed the recurring theme of my love of ice cream. This has increased significantly in recent years as my marathon training has justified (in my mind anyway) my need to consume copious amounts of the stuff while binge watching Netflix. Currently Jessica Jones.
I’m not fussy when it comes to my ice cream but Fionnuala is. Her favourite is ‘Pooh Bear’ honeycomb flavour. And I have to admit she has got me hooked on it. To the extent that I am digging into a litre tub of it as I write this. So excuse the sticky fingers please.
The shop in our village stocks Morelli’s ice cream, a very famous brand in Northern Ireland. And they boast a variety of flavours. Including ‘Pooh Bear’. And very nice it is too. However my wife has high standards when it comes to her taste buds and insists on eating only Maud’s ‘Pooh Bear’ ice cream. No exceptions. And don’t try to fool her for she will find out, hunt you down and kill you.
This involves me driving to the next village to purchase the aforementioned dessert. Which involves driving an extra mile no less. And then driving back again. This huge outlay of time and effort on my part is outweighed by the fact that I can’t really complain. Bringing Fionnuala back the wrong ice cream would be the equivalent of returning to me with Pepsi Max when I asked for Diet Coke. Divorce proceedings would be imminent.
So I’m quite happy to go the extra mile where ice cream is concerned. But when was the last time we went the extra mile to help a friend, neighbour or for that matter total stranger? When was the last time we went the extra mile to help out at our church when we would rather just turn up every Sunday and go through the motions? When was the last time we went the extra mile and stepped out of our comfort zone to talk about our faith and advance the Kingdom of God.
It’s easy for us to go the extra mile when it suits us and serves our own selfish needs. Not so much when it clashes with our sinful, default instincts. Jesus went the extra mile for us. To the Cross. Punched, kicked and spat upon every step of the way. Flayed to the bone and beaten to an unrecognisable pulp. He didn’t have to. He asked God was there another way. But he did it. To rectify the complete mess we had made, were making and would make of our lives.
I didn’t run today so I didn’t really deserve ice cream. But I went the extra mile for it anyway. I didn’t deserve what Jesus achieved at the Cross. But he went the extra mile for me. The least I can do is spend the rest of my life going the extra mile for him and for others.
Or even better. Two miles.
Matthew 5:41 – ‘If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.’
How far have you ever driven for your favourite treat?
How could you go the extra mile for someone today?