“I’ll do it – but that’s it. I’ll do what I have to do, but nothing else. Don’t expect anything more out of me. I’ll do my part but that’s all I’m doing.”

I hate seeing that side of ‘me’ but it’s there; and, I need to confess it to the Lord.  When Paul wrote Philemon, he was asking Philemon and his wife Apphia to do something that would be challenging to say the least!  Naturally speaking, Philemon and Apphia could have been very hesitant to receive back into their home one who had wronged them and had a criminal record. They could have been very unforgiving.  But when Paul wrote to share with them the good news of Onesimus’ salvation, he just knew that Philemon would go above and beyond the call of duty in receiving him back.

Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. Philemon 1:21

Paul knew from past experiences that Philemon and his wife had a proven track record of always going the extra mile. They were anything but ‘bare minimum’ Christians. They always did more than they were asked to do.  Would you like to have a reputation like that? An extra mile Christian!

Sometimes we can dig in our heels and say: “I’ll warm the seat, show up on Sundays, shake their hands, but that’s it.”  When I have such thoughts, I am in the wrong – not them. I need an attitude adjustment. It’s a classic sign of bitterness in my soul. I cannot enjoy Christ if there is an ounce of bitterness contaminating my thoughts.

Jesus said: And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Matthew 5:41

Do you know where the term ‘go the extra mile’ came from? In the Roman Empire the postal service was different than today. The Roman Postal Authority could interrupt your day and order you to carry a parcel a mile down the road.  You could be in the middle of washing your chariot or scrubbing down your teeth. When the RPA told you to carry a parcel for the next mile, you would never dare say ‘no.’ After you did your mile, then someone else’s day would be interrupted to carry it the next mile. Eventually people received their mail. Efficient, indeed!

People deeply resented having their days interrupted. Plus, some found it degrading. So, they chose to do the bare minimum. They carefully measured one mile and drove a stake in the ground. Then, with bitter resolve, they would say: “Every time the RPA asks me to carry a parcel, I will go this far and not a centimeter further!”   That’s why Christ’s teaching on ‘going the extra mile’ was such a radical departure from the norm.

My Saviour went the extra mile for me. In fact, He went the full distance, above and beyond what I ever deserved. ‘Go the extra mile’ for the customer is a popular slogan which some take very seriously. How seriously do I take ‘going the extra mile’ for Christ?

When someone asks you to do something, do they have any reason to be confident that, like Philemon and Apphia, you will do even more than they ask?  The extra-mile-Christ appreciates extra-mile-Christians. Switch out of the ‘bare minimum’ mode today. Get into hi-gear for the Lord. “Lord help me to be an ‘extra mile’ Christian today.”

Walk carefully and closely with the Lord today.

Warmly in Christ
Peter Ramsay

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