Many of us have heard the call to ‘Go the extra mile’ – it comes from Jesus’ words from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5v41, ‘And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles’ I thought of these words on my return from the Christian counselling conference I was able to attend last week in Chattanooga, Tennessee. This city has a free trolley bus service to the downtown area which we were able to ride during breaks in the conference. On one occasion our driver decided to give the tour commentary on the area to these two Canadian travellers. She took great joy, not just in taking us to our destination on the north shore of the downtown, but also in pointing out sights, shops and where to get off and on the bus again. She truly did go ‘the extra mile’ for us that day!
Jesus teaches us to go the extra mile not only to our friends in church but also to our enemies – those perhaps we haven’t taken time to get to know as yet. To reach out in love as we welcome others into the fellowship of the church. The ‘extra mile’ may mean an invitation to our home, a longer conversation than we bargained on or meeting a very real need in that person’s life.
Yet these are ‘miles’ by God’s grace we are invited to travel as we embrace those who visit with us each Sunday!