Second mile believers step up in name of ChristPublished 9:23am Friday, August 10, 2012
By: DARRYL WOOD / GUEST COLUMNIST
From the other side of a restaurant, a server peered over at the table where my wife and I sat. She noticed our menus folded as we waited for someone to take our order. She stepped over and said, “I’m not sure where your waitress is, but I’ll take your drink order.” Then she waived her hand and added, “Oh, if you’re ready I’ll just take the order and turn it in for her.”
So we placed our order. This same young lady brought our water and assured us the food was on the way. How right she was. Within minutes she arrived with the order. She checked on us during the meal and later brought the check. All the while this waitress deftly served her customers on the other side of the room.
We never encountered another server. This observant woman simply saw something that needed to be done and did it. That’s what I call “second mile service.”
Although Jesus probably never ate a restaurant meal, He advocated “second mile service.” He said, “Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.” (Matt. 5:41) Jesus referenced the Roman law that allowed soldiers to conscript Roman subjects to carry their packs for up to one mile.
Presumably this allowed an exhausted soldier to rest. Jesus commanded, “Don’t stop with the required one mile. Volunteer to tote that pack another mile.” That illustrated Jesus’ standard for Christian service.
Oh sure, you can get by with doing only what is required. Jesus explained that second mile service, however, results from genuine love. And love propels you from “have to” mode to “want to.”
Second mile servants consider the immediate need instead of convenience, expense or the time involved. Second mile believers step up to the table and take the order to serve in Christ’s name even when it’s not their job.
The Rev. Dr. Darryl Wood is pastor of the First Baptist Church of Vincent. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.