Go the Extra Mile. We continue our series of devotions on the Words of Christ with this devotional from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount in Matthew. In this passage the Lord Jesus Christ calls His children to go beyond what is expected of them.
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.
Matthew 5:38-42, NKJV
The words of Christ from the Sermon on the Mount today get to what is really the very heart of being a Christian, yet its message is not easy to bear. The Lord Jesus urges His children to go the extra mile! This is not an easy principle to incorporate into our daily lifestyles, for everything within us claims, "That is not fair."
Jesus teaches us to not resist evil people. If we are slapped on the right cheek, then we are to turn the other cheek to him also. If a person wants to steal our tunic, then we are to give him our cloak also. If we are forced to go one mile, then we are to willingly go two miles. We are to give willingly to those who ask to borrow from us, even if it means we are to lose that item forever.
None of these things are easy to bear. Life is hard, and we have worked, often for years and years to obtain the possessions we own. We are not, then, too willing to give them to someone who will not respect them. We certainly do not want to give them to someone who may destroy them and not be able to replace them.
When you think of these words of Christ, what is the real message that He is trying to point out to His disciples--and thence, to us as well? Jesus is saying that, as true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, our lives are not our own. The things we may possess are mere trinkets which have no value in eternity. We must look, rather, Christ says, to the heart of life and observe the real meaning of this life. Our hearts are not to be grounded in this life or in the things we possess, but rather, our hearts are to be grounded in eternity.
The message Jesus was teaching to us in these verses from Matthew 5, reminds me of a chorus we sang when I was a child:
With eternity's values in view, Lord;
With eternity's values in view -
May I do each day's work for Jesus
With eternity's values in view.
This message seems rather remote in this, the 21st century, does it not? We live in a very selfish society, and even those in the church have been sadly affected by this world's egotistic lifestyle. Just think what would happen if all true believers took these words to heart and began to live them.
Though it may be against the very fabric of our being to do so, let us pray that God would reform our hearts and our lives so that we, too, would gladly go the extra mile. Let us pray that God would grant us hearts that love others more than we love ourselves! Let us pray that God would enable us to live with eternity's values in view!