The Second Mile

And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Matthew 5:41 ESV

I was asked for a ride the other day.  I was happy to help, and off we went.  I thought I was only taking them home, but they asked if we could stop by the store.  So I sat in the parking lot and waited.  Back on the road, they asked for another stop before we reached the final destination.  I sat in the driveway of an unfamiliar neighborhood and waited.  As I sat there, I grumbled.  I heaved sighs.  Fidgeted and made faces as I sat in the car.  When they finally emerged, I was more than ready to go.  When I left them at their house I had spent over an hour of my time with what I thought would only have been 15 minutes tops.  I fussed all the way home.

You may say, “Well, I don’t blame you for being upset, that person was taking advantage of you.”  However, Jesus has a different point of view.

In the sermon on the mount, (Matthew 5), Jesus outlines how we that claim to be his followers should behave in humility, meekness and kindness, especially to our enemies. In verse 41, “And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles,” Jesus is referring to a law that the Jews and any occupied people of the Romans had to comply.  A Roman soldier could force any subject to carry his baggage, or anything else for up to one Roman mile (1,000 paces), and the person could not refuse.  Refusal meant grievous punishment.  It was especially humiliating for the Jew.  They hated Romans and suffered under their thumb.  To willingly summit and then freely give more than what was required would have been hard to swallow, to say the least. 

So why did Jesus say to go that second mile?  

As a Christian just doing what is required or acceptable is not enough.  Anyone can fulfill the requirements making sure not to inconvenience themselves.  However, as  Christians, we should be willing and eager to extend ourselves that second mile.  Whether it is giving a ride, taking on another task at work, letting a car in front of us, or stopping to say good morning, Christian should consistently be not just meeting but exceeding the acceptable bar.  We should be willing to give of ourselves to others as Christ gave His very life for us. 

Never settle for the requirement only, but strive to exceed the expected everywhere, in relationships, at work, in school, and in your daily routine.  You represent the Savior of the world shouldn’t you be going the second mile to show the unsaved His love for them?

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