The Mile that Brings a Smile - Hope 103.2

The Mile that Brings a Smile

Today when we say, I will go the extra mile we usually mean, I am prepared to go out of my way for you—to do something extra.Not like a minister who is walking down the street one day when he notices a very small boy trying to press a doorbell on a house across the street. […]

By Chris WittsFriday 16 Nov 2018Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 4 minutes

Today when we say, I will go the extra mile we usually mean, I am prepared to go out of my way for you—to do something extra.

Not like a minister who is walking down the street one day when he notices a very small boy trying to press a doorbell on a house across the street. The boy is very small and the doorbell is too high for him to reach. After watching the boy’s efforts for some time, the priest moves closer to the boy’s position. He steps smartly across the street, walks up behind the little fellow and, placing his hand kindly on the child’s shoulder, leans over and gives the doorbell a firm ring. Crouching down to the child’s level, the priest smiles compassionately and asks, And now what, my little man? To which the boy replies, Now we run!

But it has a deeper meaning. Just about a decade before Jesus came to this earth the Roman senate had passed a law that allowed any Roman soldier to compel able-bodied Jews to carry their pack for one mile. This was greatly resented as you can imagine—Palestine in the days of Jesus was an occupied country. Rome enforced its rule over the people of Israel by maintaining garrisons of Roman soldiers stationed throughout the country. But Jesus startled everyone by saying, “If a soldier forces you to carry his pack one kilometre, carry it 2 kilometres” (Matthew 5:41 – CEV). Jesus said go twice the distance.

Caring for Others

We must take seriously what the Apostle Paul wrote, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4 – Berean Study Bible). A modern translation says, “…consider others more important than yourselves. Care about them as much as you care about yourselves” (Philippians 2:3-4 – CEV). It’s not really about putting in extra hours to impress the boss—it means being prepared to make a sacrifice.

We affect what we get out of life by what we give. It’s true! If you go through life smiling at others you will receive more smiles than most people. But if you go through life frowning, you will probably receive more frowns than most people. If you go through with a positive attitude, you will receive positive affirmations. But if you go through life with a negative attitude, you will probably live as a negative person.

If you go through life forgiving, you will receive forgiveness. But if you go through life bitter and angry, you will probably receive more anger and bitterness in your life. What you give is what you get! It’s amazing! Going the second mile works! But not everyone is prepared to do that—in fact it’s never crowded going the extra mile.

It has been said, A person wrapped up in himself makes a very small package. In going the second mile, we help carry the burden of others. Being a committed Christian means doing more than is expected of us.

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We Get More From Giving

The second mile was to be seen as an opportunity. The Lord was teaching that, as you and I go down the road of life, we are to look at the tasks we are given—even the unfair ones—as opportunities to serve others cheerfully as we reflect the love of Christ even in our attitudes. That’s why Acts 20:35 (CEV) says, “…our Lord Jesus said More blessings come from giving than from receiving”. And when we begin to give ourselves away, not holding back, we discover joy and we discover those rich rewards promised those who go beyond the first mile.

Living a ‘second-mile’ lifestyle is really just following the life of Jesus. When we go the second mile we are imitating Christ who everyday of his life lived beyond the minimum standard. He took no shortcuts. He cut no corners. He held nothing in reserve. He lived his life and finished his race. Remember when he fed the 5,000 with five loaves and two fishes? Everyone’s need was met and they had 12 baskets of food left over. That is meeting need and then some! Remember when he told the disciples to cast their nets? They couldn’t pull them in for the quantity of fish! That is meeting need and then some! Remember when Jesus turned the water into wine? He filled six water pots with 180 gallons of wine! That’s meeting need plus more.

C.S. Lewis, the Christian author, explained the principle found in these verses when he wrote,

The rule for all us is perfectly simple. Do not waste your time bothering whether you love your neighbour; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less…The difference between a Christian and a worldly man is not that the worldly man has only affections or likings and the Christian has only charity. The worldly man treats certain people kindly because he likes them; the Christian, trying to treat everyone kindly, finds himself liking more and more people as he goes on—including the people he could not even have imagined himself liking at the beginning. [C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, pp. 101-12, New York: The MacMillan Company, 1958]

Jesus went the second mile for usJohn 3:16 (CEV) says it so well: “God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life…” That tells me Jesus went the extra mile—he took the sins of the world on his own shoulders.