Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Thoughts on the Second Mile

Matt 5:38-41, "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.

Important to for us to remember that before we can start a second mile, we have to finish the first. The first mile is our obligation, so the question is: Are we willingly going the first mile?

Consider three obligations of Mile One. 1) Forgiveness: In Matt 18:21-35 Jesus says we are to forgive our brother seventy times seven times. Some of us stop way short of 490. 2) Love: Jesus says the world can recognize His followers by their unconditional love – John 13:35. I wonder how many of us struggle to love our brethren the way God commands, or do we truly love our neighbor as ourselves? 3) Service: God demands our service in at least four areas: Service to God – Eph 2:10; service to the other Christians (the Church) – Eph 5:21; service to our family – Col 3:18-21; and service to our employer – Col 3:22-25.

Jesus tells an interesting parable in Luke 17:7-10, “"Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, 'Come at once and recline at table'? Will he not rather say to him, 'Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink'? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.'” If we do only what is required, what have we done? Only what we had too. If we only do what is required we only went one mile and have not even begun Second Mile Service.

To go the Second Mile is to go beyond my obligation. In these same three areas we can decide if we are going the second mile in: 1) Forgiveness: Am I willing to forgive even before I receive an apology? Do I go to them and provide an opportunity for them to ask for forgiveness? Can I forgive sacrificially like Jesus on the cross and Stephen as the Jews were stoning him? 2) Love: Will I love even those who HATE me? Will I demonstrate love for and to my enemies? Roman 5:6-11 teaches that Christ demonstrated love to us when we were a weak conquerable enemy. Will I like Jesus, love sacrificially. 3) Service: Serving those who can and will return the favor is easy. Am I willing to serve the lazy? To I in Christian patience serve one who is a taskmaster? Can I with a Christ-like heart serve one who is ungrateful? Will I go the second mile and serve sacrificially?

Are we truly going the Second Mile?


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