Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Praise Him Praise Him"1 (Lyrics)
Matthew 5:39-41 – But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. (NKJV)
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary gives the meaning of the common expression, "go the extra mile" as "do more than one is required to do." This phrase is based on the teachings of Jesus in today's text. Our world is so much better when we follow the teachings of Jesus!
In January 2022, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, experienced its largest snowfall since the January Blizzard of 1999 immobilized the city. In less than 24 hours, so much snow fell that the streets were impassable and even the main highways had to be closed. The television screens showed many different incidents of the recent storm, but one has remained with me.
A refuse truck was trying to get down a street where only a single lane had been plowed and the snow banks were very high. The driver experienced difficulty in reaching the garbage bins and getting them over the snow to his truck. He then arrived at some houses where the residents had cleared a path through the high banks so that the garbage pails could be pulled through. He commented to the television interviewer, "They really helped me out."
Those residents didn't have to make the effort to make that pathway, but they certainly did "go the extra mile".
During the same time, our residence, like many businesses, experienced staff shortages. I was encouraged as I recalled three such instances where staff went the extra mile.
The concierge at our front desk constantly answers calls from outsiders or residents. However, with missing servers, Heli, on more than one occasion, brought her telephones with her and helped serve in the dining room.
During the height of the Omicron shutdown, meals had to be brought to our suites. On the first such day, the porridge was all gone before the servers reached my suite. I was disappointed, but before long, there was a tap on my door. Katrina had gone the extra mile to find a serving and bring it to me.
The third example occurred when I was surprised to see Tim, our Maintenance Manager, helping the servers delivering our evening meals. I jokingly commented to our Dining Room Manager about the quality of his newest employee. Patrick responded that if I was surprised at Tim helping him, I should go to another floor and see Matt, our General Manager, serving meals. Every available person was helping out and going the extra mile.
As I thought about each of these examples, I realized that they were all simple things being done in a helpful way, but totally consistent with the teachings of Jesus about how we should live.
You and I are not required to do major things, but we are expected to follow the simple teachings of Jesus set out so clearly today's text.
What a better world this would be!
Prayer: Dear Father, help us to learn from the simple teachings set out for us. Help us to go the extra mile. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.