It was over. My junior year of high school had ended, and summer break had commenced. At the start of the break, I returned as a temporary employee to my summer job at headquarters in Edmond, Oklahoma. Returning to my summer job was a little different this year though: It meant helping my father for a few hours every week in the campus music department.
Since the school year had ended, it was time for the department to choose repertoire for the school orchestra to play the following semester. I had always loved playing in the orchestra, and I was quite pleased to see the orchestra’s relatively impressive improvement over the past semester. This, of course, meant I was ecstatic when my father asked me to help select the orchestra music for the next year.
But there was one specific thing that he had already chosen for the orchestra to play: a medley from one of his favorite soundtracks. At the time, soundtracks were a good choice for the school orchestra. They were popular and complemented the nature of the orchestra, which was mixed with both advanced and beginner musicians. However, there was one downside to playing music from a soundtrack: the music score. A soundtrack music score would not be in the public domain, unlike the sheet music of thousands of famous classical pieces that have stood the test of time. This meant we would most likely have to buy a score.
My father asked me to look for a score online. Now, we were not looking for the hours and hours of music produced for the entire cinematic production; we were just looking for a short medley, or an arrangement of the most popular melodies.
Having found a few scores online, I began to look at some previews and listen to what they sounded like. They were good, but I did not particularly enjoy the order of the melodies in the medleys. Plus, we would be spending a sizable amount of money on the entire music score—one that would take time to rearrange for our specific musicians.
Having expressed this sentiment to my father, I asked if we could make our own arrangement. Even though it would mean more time, we agreed we should make our own order of the melodies and arrange them accordingly. But then my father asked me to do something I really thought he would want to do himself: He asked me to organize the order of the melodies.
Excitedly, I dove into the work and came up with an order. I also found a way to make a piano version of the score, so my father could review it as an outline.
He did make quite a few changes—I was still an unexperienced temporary employee, after all. Nevertheless, I was happy to help and excited to see how my father would arrange the final score for the entire orchestra. He would, as we say in musical terms, orchestrate it. He would assign the flutes to play their respective parts, the violins to play their respective parts, and so on and so forth. This is how the orchestra would sound—what the audience would hear when they listened to the performance.
“And Seth, I think I’ll go ahead and let you do the orchestration.”
Wait, what? Come again? The orchestration? Not just a basic outline, but every detail—the tiniest note, the smallest marking—the entire orchestration? You want me to arrange the whole thing for the entire orchestra?
I thought surely that I had misheard something. After all, doing something this weighty seemed like something he would want to do. Why was he assigning it to me, a novice, a temp—a teen?
Take a step back and review the events leading up to this. My father originally planned to just find a medley, purchase it, and give it to the orchestra. But after seeing the interest and enthusiasm I had for the project—how I really had no interest in any of the easy options, and how I threw myself into something that he did not really plan to do—he assigned this crucial phase of the arranging process to a part-time employee.
Notice what Jesus Christ said nearly 2,000 years ago: “And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain” (Matthew 5:41).
How often are we told to go the extra mile? Christ’s words are still applicable for us today. When we are given an assignment, whether it be in our job, our schoolwork, our chores or even in things like dress and hygiene, do we always make it a point to go the extra mile?
God wants to bless us. God wants to reward us. He wants to give us all fantastic opportunities for our education and our enjoyment. Sadly, we often prevent God from giving us these opportunities because we limit ourselves through complacency. However, if we do go that extra mile, God could be preparing us for a blessing we have no idea exists!
This does not mean we should try to take on responsibility that is not ours to take. In some cases, like mine, we must remember to seek approval from our supervisors first. However, if we see something that would be good to do and ask to do it even if we do not have to do it, we could be walking right through an open door with blessings and opportunities on the other side!
“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain” (1 Corinthians 9:24). We all have to run—and even run that extra mile—in order to obtain those blessings and opportunities that God has in store for us. We all have to walk through that door that God so graciously opens for us. And what is on the other side of that door?
A medley of opportunity.