Those who drive on our streets and highways would agree that traffic patterns change on the weekend. There are fewer cars on the road than at the times when people travel to/from either work or school. We’re happy to drive when it isn’t rush hour. It frees us up to leave a little later or drive a little faster. Perhaps we can make an unplanned stop along the way.
People may choose to alter their behavior on the road of life. Jesus said, “If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.” (Matthew 5:41) His practical teaching addressed a troubling dimension of Israel’s culture. Roman soldiers could require civilians to carry military baggage for them. To his listeners Jesus was saying that a person could either resent the command and do the minimum or cheerfully do more than what was required. The teaching symbolized a larger issue of the life his followers were called to lead. They were to do more than what was expected of them.
Going beyond what’s expected us of us still remains a choice. Followers of Jesus possess the privilege of acting differently when life’s road makes demands on our services. Those who take the path of doing more than what is expected will find themselves in rare air. It’s a road similar to the weekend traveler. As author Zig Ziglar once observed, “There are no traffic jams on the extra mile.” You’ll always have plenty of freedom and room to be generous.
Motivated by love we may pray for someone, offer a smile, or take time to speak needed words of encouragement. We may open a door, help a person carry a heavy load, or drive out of our way to pick up something or someone. It’s more than what people expect or feel they deserve. But that isn’t the most important thing for us to consider.
What people expect isn’t as important what God expects. “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8) When we humbly act in ways that treat others fairly, and also with grace, we’re showing what God is like. God is just, but He also loves to show us grace and mercy.
Whether it’s the weekend or a weekday, the traffic patterns are not under our control. But we can choose how we feel about them and what we do with them. Let’s go beyond the minimum and show people what our God is truly like. By sending His Son the Father did so much more for us that we could ever have expected. With God’s example and by His grace we may do more than what is expected of us. May we do so in 2016!
Pastor Ken Atchison
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com