Which business model do you prefer: One provides the bare minimum in terms of service and quality, and the other offers that little something extra, that over the top service with a quality product. We all love when a company or even a person goes above and beyond what’s expected – when they go the extra mile. Why? Because when it’s not required or expected, it shows that the company values their customer, which often creates loyal customers.
When Jesus spoke about going the extra mile, He wasn’t referring to customer service but to a Roman law imposed on the people. The law stated that Roman soldiers could order any citizen to carry their weapons or equipment for a distance of up to one mile. No matter what you were doing, the law required that you drop everything and obey. You can guess how the people felt about that! So when Jesus said, “Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two,” the people weren’t exactly thrilled.
In today’s context, it would be comparable to having a very demanding boss who expects so much from you that at times it seems unreasonable. Yet you do even more than he or she expects, even if it goes unacknowledged.
What Jesus was saying to Christians is this: “Even if your boss is incredibly difficult, don’t just do the bare minimum. Go above and beyond – exceed their expectations even. But be careful to watch your motives. Don’t act in this way because you’re expecting a raise or hoping to be promoted; do it because you want to be a positive witness for Christ” (My paraphrase). Do it for the glory of God!
If you want to communicate a character and a lifestyle that is beyond the norm; if you want to be a positive witness for Christ – then ask yourself if you’re willing to go the extra mile. The world is always surprised when people do.