“If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles.”
Just found this earlier as a draft I had saved awhile back. It’s a principle that I know I struggle with but one that I also know I need to strive to be better at. GOING THE EXTRA MILE. Sounds easy enough but sometimes just doing the required minimum seems like enough. I’ve always been one to have a few lazy bones and if I had it my way I would do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. The thing that hurts about that is the consequences of doing just enough to get by, even if it’s practiced in one area of life it can and will lead into other areas and eventually all of your life.
In the context of this verse, Jesus is teaching these lessons for the people in front of him during that time to live by but also for me and you today. Why is going the extra mile important? Well, here’s the scenario, you’re living during these times way back when Jesus was in His earthly ministry. It was common for Roman soldiers to make people carry his coat or gear for a mile. No questions asked, the Romans were in charge and in power during this time, and a soldier says to do this. Who is going to question a soldier? And also, the soldier doesn’t say please, he “demands” you to do it. So you have no choice in the matter. You have to carry his gear for a mile.
But Jesus says something here that songs kind of crazy right?!? Go TWO miles?!? But the soldier only said you have to go one and you don’t even feel like doing that mile, why would you go twice as far??? Jesus taught many lessons during His time, lessons to live by and He also left us an example to learn from and model our lives after. In world terms, a lot of stuff Jesus taught sounded absurd, crazy, weird, and even radical. That’s the cool thing about Jesus, He may have been in the world, but He wasn’t of the world. As followers of Jesus we live as ONE with the Son of God, we are identified as Children of God, heirs to an inheritance of eternity. We may be in the world but as followers of Christ, we are called to not be of the world. What the world holds as standards are different for us children of God. We have been called to live life at the standard of Heaven. A much higher standard. Jesus’ teachings may sound crazy but think about the implications it holds for the one who lives out his or her calling, in the world but not of it, living to God’s standards? Instead of the usual, “ughhh, I guess so.” Then carrying the soldiers stuff for awhile and meeting the minimum, meeting the soldiers expectations. Instead, you follow Jesus’ way of living, go TWO MILES!!! Imagine what is going through the soldiers head, “wow! Who is this guy? Where is He from and why in the world did he go the extra mile? What’s he made of?”
All those questions others may ask when seeing you go the extra mile, all have answers leading back to the source of your action. God. Others will see you going the extra mile, exceeding what’s “normal” and they will think you’re different, because you’re in this world but you’re not of it. It’s been said that actions speak louder than words but just think of what going the extra mile can bring to your life and others. Not only does that build a discipline that carries over to living in Godly and high standards in every area of your life, in this case, your Christ-like actions make your words speak even louder!! When people see you loving them after they yelled at you or did you wrong, helping the person that is pushing a buggy down the street when you’ve worked all day, you’re tired and you don’t feel like it. When people see you do these things, they don’t see you, they see Jesus in you!!! Such a simple lesson here from Jesus and it applies not only to carrying one’s gear but EVERY STINKIN AREA of our lives! They way you do everything you do, go the extra mile!!! You never know who will see Jesus through those resilient actions! And to think of what changes not only in your life or the person’s gear you’re carrying, other believers see you, they are encouraged to go the extra mile too! You’ve got people everywhere going the extra mile and exceeding the minimum and world around you asking, “who? what? why? and where?” All these questions with one simple answer, the answer to all of our deepest problems, the only One who’s ever went the extra mile for each person on the planet, JESUS CHRIST!!!
Don’t stop at good enough today, keep stepping and working, go the extra mile in every opportunity presented, you’ll be thankful you did and so will the world around you! If one simple action can bring Jesus to a lost and dying world!!! Let’s get to work and GO THAT EXTRA MILE!!!