Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Matthew 5:41
What would the world look like if we all lived by this rule? Whoever compels you…back in first century Palestine, a Roman soldier could compel (make, require, demand) a conquered citizen (Rome had conquered a lot then) to carry his backpack for one mile, but one mile only. He probably didn't ask nicely or explain a dilemma of being worn slap out. The soldier required it. Back then, Roman soldiers did not evoke warm and fuzzy feelings in the hearts of the people. In other words, the people weren't real happy about this rule to being with. Then…Jesus comes on the scene and one ups the game, so to speak.
What: Sermon on the Mount
When: First Century Palestine
Where: The Mount
Why: Because He loved them...Them (The people….fast forward…you and me)
Go with him two. Yes, I know he made you do the first one. Go with him another one. Do you mean volunteer, Jesus? Ye...and do it with a happy heart, a heart that loves me. Hmmm…how quiet do you think that Mount was?
I do see second mile stuff acted out on a regular basis…sometimes by Christians, sometimes not.
You go visit a restaurant and it is raining; the young man in uniform meets you at the car door with an umbrella offering to escort you inside.
You are at the gym. It is all you can do to finish the work out. The guy who finished first is encouraging you, waving you on. Then he runs the last mile with you, all the while feeding you words of encouragement.
You are driving down the road trying to get home when you see someone stranded. You stop to help, but also give them extra help, resources, you fill in the blank.
As Christians, we are required to go the first mile. We are required to uphold God's commandments, love the Lord and one another. What compels us to go the second mile? Love. Love for Jesus. The burning desire to be more like Him. Think about the ministry of Jesus. What got the people talking? The fact that He was a law-abiding, knowledgeable, talented teacher? Maybe, but I think it was the second-mile stuff. The very personal encounters with individuals that compelled them to tell others of what He did. The casting out. The healing. The fellowship. The drawing in the sand. The questions. The unabashed boldness. The staying longer than you have to or talking longer than what is required because why? Because you care. Because you are compelled by the love of Jesus to go Mile 2.
I think thirsty souls would find their way to Jesus if we could point from the vantage point of the second mile.
Aren't you glad Jesus carried the cross that second mile for you and for me? Aren't you profoundly grateful that He didn't stamp 'Good Enough' on the fact that He came to enlighten us about the Father? Aren't you thankful for His obedience, His willingness, His love?
Give us your eyes so that we may travel that second mile to meet someone where they are. Help us to be unsatisfied with 'good enough'. Compel us, Lord Jesus.
Amanda Williams is a forty-year old wife and mother of two who can still swing her pony tail and display just a tad of sass. She is also a Jesus loving girl who realizes she is nothing without the One who saved her. Amanda has two degrees specializing in serving students with special needs and is currently working in the field of Leadership Development. She is a Christian author, speaker, blogger, and publisher who loves serving beside her husband at her local place of worship, First Baptist Church of Ocala.