I went to Walmart the other day. Something I do as a part of the middle class ritual. Sometimes I visit other stores with fewer choices and higher prices just to avoid crowds. But Walmart sells fishing licenses. I don’t know why Texas Parks and Wildlife decided to set their annual renewal on September 1. And I don’t know when I will go fishing. But at least I will be ready. After all, waiting till later in the year doesn’t save anything. The license costs the same now as it will cost next June.
While at Walmart, I thought I would pick up a few items for my new diet. I am trying to lose weight again. Three peaches, two bags of frozen vegetables and a box of rice. I didn’t think these staples would get me through a Cowboy game, but maybe, if I eat enough vegetables and rice, it will keep me out of trouble.
I was clearly under the express limit of twenty items so I went to the express check out and got in line. . I stood behind a young Hispanic woman who was obviously pregnant and had a small child on her hip. She started emptying her cart onto the counter. In all she had well over forty items, including, cases of coke and a large sack of potatoes. She piled up the counter not once, but twice. I smiled and was patient. The cashier was apologetic that she did not see the woman’s cart before she unloaded it. Several customers behind me rolled their eyes, groaned and asked if the girl couldn’t read. I waited, smiled, bought my items and did not complain. “Maybe she made a mistake and got in the wrong line,” I thought. Anyway, we ought to give a break to a young woman with a child on her hip and a baby in her womb. She is trying to feed and take care of her family. I am just buying a fishing license and trying to stay on a diet. I was feeling rather good about myself for not complaining or rolling my eyes.
After I got home I started thinking. Why didn’t I offer to help the young woman? I could have lifted the potatoes and cases of coke. I could have helped her with her basket. Was it enough to simply smile and not complain? I could imagine Jesus saying, “Don’t be so smug. If I had been there I would have helped the girl.”
“Okay, Lord,” I said. I am listening. “But sometimes ‘going the second mile’ is hard to do. Not so much because I don’t want to do it, but because I simply miss the opportunities.”
Every day we have opportunities to “go the extra mile.” To do something unexpectedly nice for someone. We just need to open our eyes and see others the way Jesus sees them. Sometimes it is the little thing that can change the world.