Why Go the Extra Mile?
By Chuck Bartlett
Jesus, during His sermon on the mount (Matt. 5-7), preached many great lessons. One of which is found in chapter 5:38-42. This is where the Lord encourages His followers to resist the urge to be vindictive, to turn the other cheek, and go the extra mile. What we will do with this article is to examine the benefits of doing what the Lord is admonishing us to do.
It is what the Lord wants
Even though there are many good reasons to go the extra mile with someone, it really wouldn’t matter if we knew what they were. The truth is, if the Lord tells us to do it and we do, the greatest benefit is knowing it is what our Savior wants. For those who say they love Jesus, it ought to mean they want to keep His commandments (Jn. 14:15). It’s okay to think of, why does He want us to do it? But just the fact He tells us too is more than sufficient.
It is what the Lord did with us
Think about the time before we became a Christian, we were without strength, having no hope, walking in sin (Rom. 5:6-11). It was as though we were crucifying Christ anew not caring for Him at all (Heb. 6:6). Yet, Jesus didn’t give up on us. By His longsuffering and undying love, we who have obeyed the Gospel are so very grateful that Jesus didn’t turn His back on us. As we can see, our Lord has not asked us to do anything that He hasn’t already done. Christ has provided the perfect example for us to follow (I Pet. 2:21).
It is to let our light shine
Whenever saints let their light shine, the goal is to have them glorify God (Matt. 5:16). This good work might not impress most people, but the hope is that by going the extra mile people can witness your godliness and change themselves. Jesus made the point that if you just love those who love you, what is so great about that, even the tax collectors do the same (Matt. 5:46). As children of God, we are to be different and not conform to the world (Rom. 12:1-2).
It is to help Christians get stronger
There is nothing in the Lord’s admonition that insinuates that it is an easy task. After all, there wasn’t a clause that stated that you go the second mile when it is appreciated. James reminds us that we ought to count it all joy when we face all kinds of temptations because they help us become stronger when we overcome them (Jas. 1:2-4). It would be correct to say that Jesus tells us to do these things because He wants us to make it to heaven. The commands of our Lord, always and I mean always, have out best interest in heart.
It helps us accept our abilities
For Jesus to tell his people to do something that they couldn’t do, would make the Lord unjust. Christians are to do only what they are capable of doing and we are capable of going the second mile. That’s was the point of Christ’s lesson about the man who buried his talent (Matt. 25:24-26). We are not to bury our talent. To not do what we are commanded is to second guess our Savior. If we would see what our God sees in us, perhaps we would do much more for the Lord.
It will show just how much we care for others
Christ stated there are two laws that every other command hinges on and that is to love the Lord God and to love our fellow man (Matt. 22:34-40). There is no question that your love for others are clearly demonstrated when you go the second mile. Having learned all the benefits of doing what we are told, remember the Lord said to and that is more than enough.
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