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Matthew 5:41 (NLT) 41 If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles.

The Sermon on the Mount is a compilation of the teachings of Jesus. Within it are many challenging statements that Jesus calls on us to follow as his disciples. Matthew 5:41 deals with one of those commands some think is unique to the 1st Century, but in reality applies to us all. In those days under Roman rule, a soldier could demand that any civilian carry his gear (armor, shield, helmet, spear or other items) for a distance up to 1 mile. Refusal to obey the soldier’s command could cost a person his or her life or severe bodily harm. No one wanted this humiliating duty, but very few, if any, declined to help. That is what makes Jesus’ command so challenging. Christ wants his followers to go beyond the bare minimum. He calls on us to ‘Go the extra mile.’

One Sunday in a sermon a pastor preached on this passage and said that in his experience today we find 3 kinds of people. First, there are the No Milers. This group is usually unwilling to do anything. We see many of these kinds of people in our world. They are typically focused exclusively on themselves and only look out for #1.

The second group defines a much larger segment of the population. You might call them First Milers. They will do what is asked of them. Some will do it willingly, others unwillingly, but they really aren’t interested in doing anything additional. They get their part done and don’t worry about the rest.

The third group is the group Jesus suggests we should be a part of. They could be called the Extra Milers. This group routinely does more than what is expected. They typically don’t have to be prompted to get things done, but if they are, they will do more than what is expected. Many of them will even do it with a glad heart and a smile on their face, but they always do more than what is expected.

Which group defines you? What kind of person do you want to be? What kind of follower of Jesus do you want to be? As we enter the Season of Lent, it is time for us to examine our commitment to Christ and His church. What is your growing edge? What is Christ calling you to do? Join me in celebrating a Holy Lent this year by going the extra mile.

 

See You Sunday                     Steve

[Steve's Space for February 12, 2018]

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