Summary: A man who is wrapped up in himself makes a pretty small package. Let me tell you the Christian life is not found in being selfish but in being selfless. Jesus calls us to go the extra mile in serving others. And it is that extra mile that will change your
The extra mile.
Matthew 5:38 -- 42. 02/08/04
There was a book written by a famous feminist that talked about the importance of a revolution from within. Throughout the entire book she speaks of nothing but a selfish life. She talked of the inner self, selfless stain, true self, future self, self-love, self-rescue, the unique self, self empowerment, self belief, all through the book. I don’t know about you but it sounds like she was a bit self-centered.
You have discovered we live in a self-centered world. So, how can we as believers learn the joy of the selfless life in such a selfish world?
Let’s read our texts. “Ye have heard that it hath been said, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth; but I say unto you, that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take a way thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.”
A man who is wrapped up in himself makes a pretty small package. Let me tell you the Christian life is not found in being selfish but in being selfless. Jesus calls us to go the extra mile in serving others. And it is that extra mile that will change your life.
Now let us look first of all at THE PRINCIPAL OF THE EXTRA MILE.
When Jesus said these words Palestine had been occupied by Rome for about 100 years. Now the Romans had learned many things from the Persians. They had learned not only to conquer the land and but also use the people for their good. If a Persian soldier were on a journey, he would tell a local to carry his sword or something for a mile. The individuals felt for his on safety he would have to obey. The Romans followed their lead and did the same to the Jewish civilians. The law said the local us to carry the burden for one mile. This was humiliating to the Jew and the Romans enjoyed it. So, every Jewish boy would have a marker set one mile from his home. They would refuse to go any further than the mile. But Jesus told his followers that if they were commanded to carry the weapon for one mile, they should carry the weapon the extra mile.
When Jesus said this they must have thought this man is wild. Why in the world would we do such a thing to aid the soldiers, they hated, to aid him in his occupation? But what Jesus was trying to get them to grasp was to do more than is required by the law. The Pharisees were into keeping the law but Jesus said unless your righteousness exceed that of the Pharisees, you will and no case enter into heaven. The Pharisees were into the minimum. Just enough to get by. But Jesus said go the extra mile.
There was this farmer who decided he would buy himself a car. He saw one advertised on TV that he liked. He went to the dealer and the salesman would add on extra charges. A/C, and extra $500. Whitewall tires, an extra $200. The next week the salesman wanted to buy a cow, so he went to the farmer. The farmer said your basic cow would cost you $400. Then he started listing the extras. Two-tone exterior is $50. Genuine leather upholstery will be an extra $200. Two horns will be an extra $25. Automatic fly swatter will be an extra $15.
Listen! A person chooses what level he will live his life. There is the hellish level that returns evil for good. There is the human level that returns good for good and bad for bad. Then there is the heavenly level that returns good no matter what. That is the principal of going the extra mile.
We see not only the principal of the extra mile but also THE PRACTICE OF THE EXTRA MILE.
Some read this and think Jesus is teaching his followers to be a doormat. But that is not it at all. He is teaching us not to take revenge. We can expect to be wronged once in a while but not to take revenge, leave that up to the Lord. So, revenge is a responsibility that is not ours.
Now when we talk about the extra mile we are not left without example. They slapped him and spit on him and he never slapped back. Jesus turned the other cheek. When someone says or does something degrading, let it go. Reply with love.