“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to everyone who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away” (Mathew 5: verse 38 – 42.)
In the first century A.D. the Roman army occupied the Holy Land. As conquerors they were afforded certain privileges. One law in particular gave every Roman soldier the right to compel a Jewish citizen to carry their equipment for up too, but not in excess of, one mile. Jesus used this commonly understood law to impress upon His followers the importance of serving others in abundance. When a soldier asked them to carry a load for one mile, the Lord insisted they carry it for two miles. Simply put, accomplishing the bare minimum proves absolutely nothing. Instead, the genuine love of God is made manifest whenever we exceed the demands, requests, and expectations of others.
A few years ago an influential Pastor named Chuck Smith went to be with the Lord. At age 86, he had been battling cancer for quite some time. Upon initially being diagnosed, he began a regimen of chemotherapy and radiation. These treatments, coupled with his age, made him unsteady on his feet. I was therefore asked to accompany him to and from his daily radio program every day; to prevent him from falling. At the end of each program, we would hop in to his golf cart and head back to the church office. While on the way he would drive around the campus picking up garbage; he would also stop to talk to anyone in need. One day a woman approached him in tears. She explained that her marriage was suffering and that she had left messages with another pastor concerning counseling; but that individual had never returned her phone calls. Pastor Chuck lovingly encouraged and comforted the woman. He then told her to speak with his secretary about setting up a counseling appointment with him later that week. I was amazed that a man in his 80’s with lung cancer, undergoing radiation and chemotherapy was still out-serving many of the more youthful and seemingly healthy on staff pastors.
Like Pastor Chuck, Jesus has called each of his children to go the second mile; we must love others in abundance; we must give others more than is needed or required; we must serve our fellows with great sincerity and passion. Through our selfless actions, others can know the mercy and love of God. If we are obedient and continue to give glory and honor to the Lord, we will come to know the blessings of unending joy.
“Lord Heavenly Father, may we go the second mile. May we serve and love others in abundance. Use us to reveal Your love to the world. Increase our faith and fill us with Your Holy Spirit, that we might accomplish Your will in this place, and bring honor to Your sacred name. We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.” God bless all of you.