Congregation on Call
Answer the Call to "Go the Extra Mile"
Last year Nike introduced a tennis shoe named The Extra Mile with an ad campaign that said, “We take the extra steps to chase something bigger. Even better…we go the extra mile.” I love it!
Of course, we know where this slogan originated. These words came from Jesus during the Sermon on the Mount, when He challenged us to chase something bigger. But what did He want us to chase, and how did He want us
to chase it?
The King James Version phrased it this way: “Whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain” (Matthew 5:41). Immediately, our eyes are drawn to the word compel. We find this word again when Simon of Cyrene was compelled to carry Jesus’ cross (Matthew 27:32; Mark 15:21). Jesus challenged us not to respond in kind when others mistreat us. This becomes even more clear as Jesus continued with His sermon (Matthew 5:42-48). Jesus wanted us to respond in humility, not demanding our rights, not retaliating (Proverbs 25:21-22). But how do we do this?
How do we go the extra mile?
Practice forgiveness. This picture is never clearer than in the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32).
The harmed father did not harbor ill will or seek retribution against his rebellious son. He willingly forgave him.
Our willingness to forgive—really forgive—a family member, ex-spouse, co-worker, or fellow student requires us to go the extra mile.
We also go the extra mile by protecting our brother (Romans 14), stepping in when others seek to harm or discredit a brother. We must be alert to the impact our actions will have upon brothers and sisters in Christ.
Our world is filled with hurting people. We go the extra mile by reaching the hurting. This requires us to stop what we are doing, go out of our way, find those in need, and take time to help them. We see one example when Jesus stopped everything to help a hurting woman (Luke 8:40-46) during an extremely busy, inconvenient time.
Our world is also filled with people entangled in terrible sins. We go the extra mile by reaching the hard to reach. Jesus did this with the Samaritan woman (John 4) entangled in sexual sin. Rather than go around Sychar (like everyone else), he put Himself in a place where He could interact with the Samaritan woman, reach out to her, and meet her deepest need for a Savior.
The world is coming to our doorstep. We go the extra mile by reaching all the world. Look to the example of Peter, who was called to take the gospel to a Gentile named Cornelius (Acts 10-11:18). When we learn about another culture, bring an international student into our home, offer aid to struggling refugees, or try to learn a language to better communicate with someone, we are going the extra mile.
Going the extra mile can be uncomfortable, but we really are chasing something bigger and better. Let’s all answer the call to go the extra mile.