If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. Matthew 5:41-42 (NIV)
Just after we left hospice the other night, we stopped to buy gas before the long quiet ride home over the bridge. While husband was filling the tank, a woman dressed in tiny shorts and a tank top headed our way. My first thought was “Oh, no. She is going to ask us for money.” Instead, she begged us for a ride. “I was with friends and went to get a candy bar and they drove away and left me and took my purse. I won’t hurt you. You can search me. I have no weapons. I just need to get home.” Our route took us within ten blocks of where she needed to go. Husband looked at me and asked me what I thought. “It would be the kind thing to do,” I stammered, all the while worrying that it might be a set up and we were about to be robbed. “Ok,” he agreed, while I cleared out the backseat to make room for her. She smelled overwhelmingly like cigarettes and perfume. She talked at warp speed from the moment we drove away. She was most worried about losing her makeup. She moved to the area at age 14 from Flint, Michigan and by the time she was 17, she was a mom. Her 24 year old daughter has had the same boyfriend for seven years and is in nursing school. “She is smart. She got her looks from me, but her brains from her father.” The 21 year old daughter is married with a two year old daughter and another baby on the way. Granddaughter, Isabella, nicknamed Bella, had heart surgery at four days old to repair a hole in her heart. “The people at All Children’s are wonderful.” She doesn’t care for her daughter’s husband who is too controlling and expects her to stay home and take care of the children instead of getting a job. “If my daughter is happy, I guess that is what is important. It wouldn’t work for me.” The whole time she talked, I scanned the roadway watching for a car that might be following us. At her exit off the Interstate, I indicated a well lit gas station within walking distance of her address and suggested husband drop her off there. I reasoned that someone might be waiting for us if we took her all the way. On our way home, I aired out the car and patted myself on the back for being a Good Samaritan. Then, it hit me. The extra mile. I was so anxious about getting rid of her and all that she represented, that I didn’t remember what Jesus instructed. Had Jesus been sitting there, he would have told husband to stop at a coffee shop and buy her something to eat. Jesus would have taken her to her home and not worried about robbers. Jesus would be able to tell you her name. I can’t because I didn’t go the extra mile.