In May, I lost a close friend, Bob Carpenter, to an unexpected heart attack. In writing his eulogy, I made reference to Matthew 5:41. If anyone forces you to go 1 mile, go with them 2 miles.
Bob always seemed to have the energy to go that second and even third mile. He made a difference in my life.
What does it mean to go the second mile for Christians? In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus instructed his listeners that just doing the minimum was not enough to be His follower. We have all been in the situation where if the other person would go beyond what is expected, our life would be much easier.
The parts store owner who closes at 5 p.m. but unlocks the door at 5:15 p.m. to let you in, or the pastor who skips dinner to visit with you in the hospital. All of this requires that second effort.
As Christians, when we go the second mile, we earn the right to witness and influence others. When we pray for victims of natural disasters, we fulfill an obligation. When we go and help them rebuild fence, clean debris from their fields and rebuild demolished buildings, we earn the right to share why we are helping to rebuild their lives — because Jesus has rebuilt ours.
The walking stick ministry of the Fellowship of Christian Farmers is made possible by the efforts of hundreds of volunteers who take the time away from their own families to present the gospel through the story of the five colored beads.
Going the second mile for others is seldom easy, and the effect on others may not be immediately apparent; sometimes it is. By going the second mile, we can plant the seed of hope of a new life in Jesus Christ knowing that in Isaiah 55:11, God promises his word will not return void but will accomplish his purpose.
Take time this week to go the second mile with someone. It will not only make a difference in their life, but also in yours.
Foster is board president of Fellowship of Christian Farmers International. He resides in Westfield, Pa.