One of the most controversial statements Jesus ever made in His preaching ministry may have been Matthew 5:41, “And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.” Why? Because Jesus was speaking directly to an issue the Jewish people had with the Roman Empire.
During the time of Jesus’ ministry, Israel was under the control of the Roman Empire, and as a part of Roman rule, Romans could order any Jewish person to carry their goods for up to one mile. Some Israeli tour guides teach during visits to the Holy Land that the disdain for this Roman practice led Jewish people to purposely mark off one mile in each direction of their homes so that they never had to carry the goods further than the required mile. And, yet, during his infamous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus dares to say to the Jews, if someone compels you to go one mile, don’t stop, go two!
Jesus was communicating with this statement that any follower of his ministry should be beyond helpful, friendly, and forgiving. Nothing has changed. Jesus’ statement is timeless. He still expects his followers to go above and beyond in our service to others. We are to leave a positive and lasting impression when serving others; especially, those who do not share our same beliefs. This Heavenly expectation is upon us even in situations that we feel are difficult or that we don’t necessarily want to be in, because according to Paul this is how we win the respect of non-believers, “(live) your daily life (in such a way that you) may win the respect of outsiders…” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 NIV)
It doesn’t matter whether we are serving inside a church or going about our daily lives within our communities. As Christians, we must remember what Jesus commanded: Go the extra mile. Therefore, we are always to go above and beyond in service to others!
The second mile is more than a suggestion, it’s a command. Jesus wasn’t going to cut the Jewish people any slack on this command, and that goes for you and me as well.
The second mile is more than a good deed, it is an act of faith. Of course, it’s a good deed to go one mile, but faith is activated in the second mile. Never is this more true than when you're tired, exhausted, or already battling the enemy. It’s in the second mile we demonstrate our trust in God’s more excellent plan for our lives through our commitment to stay the course.
The second mile reveals who is really in control of your life. Are you in control of your life, or is God? What you do at the Mile Marker #1 will reveal a lot about your answer to this question!
Have you ever thought to yourself, I did this, so I deserve that? This thought process can lead to highly adverse outcomes and actions. This mindset is sinful, and it will cause you NEVER to reap the benefits of walking out the second mile. And, to speak bluntly, if we got what we deserved, we would all be thrown into Hell, the key tossed away, and we would be left to burn and die for all of eternity. Scripture teaches that the wages for sin are death, but the sacrifice of Jesus Christ saves you and me. God didn’t give us what we deserved! The Psalmist said it beautifully, “He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him. (Psalms 103:1-11 NKJV)
As recipients of God’s Grace, we now do not interact with people based on what we judge them to deserve. Since we didn’t deserve salvation, but because God loves us above and beyond, He showed us forgiveness. This truth now provokes us to go the second mile, so everyone we meet can experience this same forgiveness.
The second mile is about allowing our desire to be transformed.
Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” - Luke 9:23 (NKJV)
Jesus doesn’t stop at mile marker number one. He just keeps coming for you. If you want your desires to be transformed, you have to want what God has for you. Deny the parts of yourself that want to quit when it becomes hard to be helpful, friendly, and forgiving. Your service can have a transformative effect on the world today, especially in a world where people have forgotten how to serve others. You may NEVER get the glory for going the second mile, but remember you are doing the work of the Lord because as a Christian, all the credit goes to God.
The second mile is more about your destiny than your convenience. Convenience quits at mile number one. Comfort leaves at the basics of helpfulness, friendliness, and forgiveness and never goes above and beyond. When you enter mile two, you are entering into the will of God for your life because you are walking out the Word of God in your life.
And, your story is just getting started at mile marker number two. So many people never go to the next level in their spiritual lives because they come up with all the excuses and things they think they deserve, then fall prey to self-entitlement and worldly conveniences. Then, they stop serving God before even getting to one mile, much less mile marker number two.
Choose to be someone who lives your life in a way that wins outsiders to the Lord by demonstrating the power within going the second mile. Don’t just choose to blend in, be beyond helpful, friendly, and forgiving!
Go THE SECOND MILE in everything you do!
There is so much more included in this message when engaged in its entirety, and I hope you will give it a listen. You can view the message in its entirety at this link:
You can view the message in its entirety at this link: https://youtu.be/d3eVOmc5Ypg