“And if anyone forces (‘compels,’ NKJV) you to go one mile, go with him two [miles].” (Matthew 5:41, Amplified Bible) In Jesus’ day, the Romans had a practice that they had learned from the Persians about 600 years earlier. This practice – called IMPRESSMENT - was to subjugate (to make submissive; bring under control) a people who had been conquered through war. If a Roman soldier saw a Jewish man or boy, he could command the man or boy to carry his backpack (~100 lbs) for a maximum of one Roman mile (1600 paces/steps). At that point the soldier would have to either carry it himself or recruit another person to take it to the next mile. Most Jews would not carry this burden one step further than the law required. This law caused tremendous resentment among the Jews toward the ruling Roman government! So from today’s text, we read the word “compel” which carries with it the idea of “a readiness & willingness to submit to inconvenience or unreasonable demands; urged forcefully; cause to do a task by much pressure.” Notice the wording that Jesus uses in this text - “anyone…” To you and I today this means, “if a neighbor” or a “co-worker” or a “church member” or “Uncle Sam” would compel us to do a certain thing (as long as it doesn’t cause you to deny/disobey your faith) then we should do twice as much (better than) they expect us to do. Honestly, that’s a TOUGH standard to follow at times! Yet we must understand what it is that Christ uses to “compel” us to go the second mile - the love of Christ! The Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:14a, “For Christ's love compels us …’ The Second Mile is a reflection of our thankfulness for the love of Christ in our lives - we are ‘compelled’ by the love of Christ to go the extra (second) mile for the kingdom of God of a grateful heart! A Christian web blogger once wrote, “The Extra (Second) Mile in our culture is "extra ordinary". It was the same in Jesus' day. Doing something unexpected for another is one way we can express God's incredible love for all men.” Mel Blackaby writes in his book, Going the Second Mile, “On the first mile, you can stand on your own. You’re doing what any good person would do. Your reward is the applause of people and the satisfaction of a job well done. You see what YOU can accomplish – but nothing more. The second mile looks much different … You demonstrate that you’re more than a good person; you’re a child of God. As a result, people see something different IN you – the love of God. For the God of love is now doing His work in you, and the world sees Him.. The difference is CLEAR - the world sees US on the first mile; they see CHRIST on the second mile.” (2006, pp.31) The essence of being a true Christian is to obediently follow Christ. The word ‘follow ’ indicates movement, a change, and/or a new direction in life. A stagnant life is the result of staying where you are - living in the first mile & refusing to go any further! But to truly follow Christ will always mean forward progress … it will require going the EXTRA (SECOND) MILE every day which He gifts to you! So how far are willing to go today for the Lord and for others? Are you hanging out in that first mile zone where much the crowds gather? Or are you willing to break ‘out of the pack’ and run that second mile for Christ and for others – a place where few others seem to want to run today? As for me and my family (Joshua 24:15), we’ve chosen to make our life journey a daily adventure into that second mile … if you’re willing, we’ll warmly greet you at the second mile marker! …Selah!
Today's Spirit-led video is by CCM artist Clay Crosse can be viewed by clicking on the on the song title, "He Walked a Mile" - G3 for God's beautiful and spirit-filled gift of ministry thru Christian music!