Today let’s look at the phrase “go the second mile”. This phrase was used in Palestine which was Roman occupied at the time. Roman soldiers could legally request a person to carry their backpack a mile for them. Jesus instructed “And if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles” Matthew 5:41.
I’m sure it was both a physical and time challenge to be interrupted from your busy day to carry a soldier’s heavy pack. Jesus knew this and was instructing his followers not only to do this which was a required thing for a soldier but to do it for any one. In fact to go the extra mile would actually mean you would be walking 4 miles (2 miles away from where you were and 2 miles back). That was quite an expenditure of time out of your way. The first required mile would be your duty. The second mile would be because you chose to do it on your own. I’m sure the person who actually performed this duty would have gotten the attention of the soldier who was accustomed to people performing the duty but rarely if ever would they go beyond what was required.
We all have duties for our jobs and families and ministries. These are either listed on our job descriptions or by verbal unspoken agreement. Regardless of our age, it’s easy to do the minimum required of us. That is reasonable. But when we choose to do more than required is where our attitudes change about the obligation. In addition, other people’s lives are changed because of our extravagant giving. Can you imagine that soldier arriving home at supper and telling his whole family about the guy who volunteered to carry his pack farther than asked?
Where could you go an extra mile in your duties at home? How about at work? What about in your church? How could you choose to do more than expected when a homeless person asks for a meal? By choosing to do more than asked, we have chosen to change our attitude from obligation to joy. When we do everything we do to glorify God, this simple act may actually send people a message of how real God’s love is to us. Do we have the faith that if we give above the required that God is able to give back to us in time and favor? The best way to create joy in an obligation is to choose to do more than required. Let’s go the second mile for somebody today.