|Go the Second Mile
By Greg Sanders
Matthew 5:40“If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. 41″Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.
In the day that Jesus walked the earth Rome was in great power. It was the law that if a Roman soldier demanded you to carry his luggage or aid in a military effort you had to participate in carrying that load for one mile. This law puts into perspective for us why Simon conformed so quickly when the Roman solider told him to carry the cross of Jesus. It was the law for him to do so.
It is with this context that Jesus gives this command that if those who are actually suppressing you, commanding you to go one mile, instead go two. Going the second mile is not natural to us. Most people do only what is required. However, for the believer in Jesus, He calls us to go farther. We go the second mile not out of obedience to Him only, but in hopes to deliver His heart to those who are in our lives.
Second mile services do not just speak well of us; they speak well of Him. Jesus is the God of the second mile. Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” Jesus does not do just what we ask. Jesus does more than we ask. He does better than we ask. One of the reasons that determining how God is going to respond is hard to predict when we pray is because in His delivering more than we ask, He moves differently than what we expect. If Jesus is a God of the second mile then it is natural to understand that He would expect His servants to do the same.
Simply doing what is expected demanded, or what someone feels entitled to receive would define the first mile. If you are like me, when someone feels entitled to something my natural reaction is to do less, not more. I enjoy serving a grateful person but if someone is entitled I really want to make it harder for him or her. The way we reach an entitled generation is not by reminding them why they are not entitled but rather by going beyond their expectations. That requires extreme humility and trust in Jesus.
The second mile is defined by going above and beyond what is expected. This means doing the unexpected or exceeding expectations. Going the second mile is not about what someone deserves, it’s about treating him or her as Jesus would treat him or her. The truth is that the love of Jesus is more easily seen along the second mile than it is the first. During the first mile, people know what you are doing but they don’t know your heart. People don’t know your motive. They don’t know if you’re doing what you‘re doing because you have to or because you actually want to bless them.
During the second mile, the heart of the matter is revealed. The second mile expresses the value of our gift, the sincerity of our service, and the dedication to our decision. Roger Staubach once said, “There are not traffic jams along the second mile.” In others words, there are very few people who go the second mile.
Today’s Challenge: Realize that God has called you to be a person who goes the second mile. It is during the second mile that God’s heart is revealed through your actions. Going the second mile changes the way we operate at home, at school, and at work. Pray that today God will be seen in your life as you go the second mile.