"If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles."
How Far Will You Go?
More than Average
How would you rate your efforts? Your obedience? Your thoroughness and serviceability? If you were to send home a grade card which would give a score on your level of love, what would it be?
Let's say you get a passing grade. You've done what was required. The task was completed. Satisfactory, right?
Now determine that grade on the basis of Christ's call to "go the extra mile." In ancient Rome citizens could be compelled by Roman soldiers to perform specific labors. For instance, to carry a soldier's gear. The law said that person would have to lug the pack one mile.
Jesus comes along and puts up a new standard though. He tells his people to go two miles. In sum, outdo what is expected of you. What seems to be a minor inconvenience should not bother you. Your heart should be so wide that you become willing to go beyond the bare minimum.
After being married, I came to see the importance of this. For me, it didn't matter if the laundry got put away in the drawers. If it got folded, that was a bonus in my eyes.
My standard was quickly challenged. My new wife had different expectations. But it wasn't enough to put the socks back into the drawer. She liked the drawer to be closed all the way, nice and neat. If the socks were sticking out or the drawer left slightly open, it was a bother.
Don't think that my wife is a bugaboo about it. She lovingly would overlook it and fix it herself if need be.
But the Lord began to convict me. What kind of love was I showing? Was it "satisfactory" or could I go the extra mile and tuck in the shirts and close the drawers all the way?
The principle of going the extra mile and doing more than what was expected/required of me became something that needed to be applied in many other ways. It was not just applied to my dresser drawers, but it also needful in the way I did the dishes and carried on conversation. It applied to parenting and a myriad of other small, but important aspects of life.
Walking a mile is, in the grand scheme of a day, not that big of a deal. It is, in many ways, a minor inconvenience. It's more about the willingness to submit, to serve, and to give up what you find pleasurable in the moment.
Really, Christ himself shows what it means in the most demonstrable ways. He became a man. He gave up vacations (Mk 6:31-33). He would not sip the drink that would numb the cross's pain. He let himself be inconvenienced in a host of ways so that he could show the love that would save and bring life.
In view of that, what is a mile or two? Our inconveniences are pretty inconsequential.
The love of Christ calls us to "go a little bit further." And so, as his disciples, we should be prepared do more than a mere C+ on our daily callings. If the boss asks for a spreadsheet, it should be the best possible spreadsheet he could ever get from us. If your mother tells you to set the table, you should make the effort to put those spoons in perfect alignment.
As the gospel exceeds our expectations, let that be the mindset that we also have. When handed a task, as yourself, "How can I go the extra mile here? What can I do to make sure that this is done in the best possible way?" As you go that extra mile, you will be showing a love that is truly divine.
This Sunday @ Hopewell
The Magi Confirm Christ's Imperial Rule
Lessons & Carols
Be sure to join us on Christmas Eve at 6:30 as we meditate on our Lord's birth. You will be blessed by Scripture readings, carols, and special music pieces.
Ring In 2022 with Hopewell
Join us at Pleasant Valley Ranch Campground for an evening of great fellowship. Pizza and drinks will be provided. Doors will open at 6pm. Feel free to come or leave whenever you'd like.