“If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles.”
– Matthew 5:41 (New Living Translation)
As we move into the Final Four of the NCAA Basketball Tournament, it’s interesting to me that the games are often decided by executing the fundamentals. Making clutch free throws, getting the ball inbounds against a pressing defense or boxing out for a rebound can mean the difference between winning and losing. Teams that are fundamentally sound move on and teams that aren’t go home. Successful coaches require their teams to spend hours of practice time working on the basics. Some players discipline themselves to study game tape or shoot hundreds of free throws in an empty gym long after practice is over. Great coaches and players know they can be successful by meeting the requirements, but to be a champion, they must be willing to go the “extra mile”.
According to the law, a Roman soldier could require a non-citizen to carry his equipment for one mile. That person had to stop what he was doing and carry the soldier’s armor, shield and food or face punishment and sometimes death. Jesus teaches a difficult lesson by telling his followers to do not only what is required, but more. He says we must be willing to go the second mile. When we think we have done enough, Jesus tells us to keep going. As coaches, we don’t question the importance of going the second mile in our sport, but what about in our personal life? Are we just doing the minimum in our relationships, in maintaining good health, in our prayer life or in our time in His Word? Jesus Christ went the extra mile for us and He is asking that we live that way too. Are you willing to do only what is required or do you want to be a “Champion” for Jesus Christ? Our Heavenly Father will reward our efforts!
Lord Jesus, thank You for going the extra mile for me. Teach me not to settle for the minimum. Give me a passion for You and Your Word. Amen.