We are usually willing to help others, but we are seldom willing to inconvenience one’s self or give something important up in doing so. Jesus talks about this principle in Matthew 5:38-48, calling on us, as children of God (verse 45), to go an extra mile and giving of ourselves in helping others. We should go as far as we are willing and then some. This demonstrates our efforts in emulating our Lord.
Our God and the Second Mile
What if God had been unwilling to go “the second mile?” In Genesis 1 and 2, God prepares a paradise for man to live in. What if, after man sins, God had said He had already given enough? What if He was willing to do no more for His creation?
Romans 5:8-11 records God’s mindset in His sacrifice of Christ despite of and for the forgiveness of our sins. He does not wait for us to be perfect in His eyes to save us. He reconciles us in our enmity. II Peter 3:9 recounts God’s patience and His desire that all would repent. He continues to give us time and opportunity to turn from our rebellion, and I John 1:9 speaks to God’s willingness to forgive us. He is willing to go another mile on our behalf.
Emulating Our God
Luke 6:36, I Peter 5:10, and I Peter 2:3 all speak about God’s mercy and graciousness. James 2:13 and Jude 22 encourages us to emulate that mercy. Luke 6:36 Calls us to be merciful as God is merciful. Ephesians 4:32 and Colossians 3:13 records that we are to be kind, patient, and forgiving toward each other – again emulating God’s forgiveness of us.
Colossians 3:12, II Timothy 2:24, and Ephesians 4:1-2 name even more qualities exemplifying God in our lives. The overriding principle in all of these things is unselfishness. Putting others first, being willing to give of ourselves for the benefit of others, inconveniencing ourselves for another’s sake. This is second-mile thinking.
Matthew 5:45-48 reminds us that this mindset is part of our spiritual heritage. As children of God, spiritually born again, we should inherit the qualities demonstrated by our Heavenly Father. He gives of Himself without end. He want us to reflect Him among men, so we should also develop second-mile thinking and engage in second-mile work.
lesson by Tim Smelser