The First Mile

Jesus taught the “second mile” and the “other cheek” in Matthew 5:39,41. A Roman soldier could commandeer a Jew to carry his pack one mile. Jesus thrilled the world with his famous “second mile”

But many consider the “second mile” only to neglect or fail in the “first mile.” The key to the second mile is inherent in the first. Jesus is teaching, “Don’t perform life’s duties with a sense of duty.” This makes life, yea life religiously controlled, mere drudgery. Jesus said to choose your action — don’t react to other men’s actions. Actually, in so doing, they choose your action rather than you.

We loudly praise the man making the second mile but seldom even notice the man making the first. This is why some try the impossible of leaping over the first to walk the second.

This explains many things. Some people are civic minded and PTO conscious — going here and there only to lose their own children. Preachers often do this! Some rich folks even have “favorite charities,” who cheat in business or do not even pay adequate wages. Some promote world peace who are neurotic and war-like themselves.

Our trouble is — we haven’t traveled the first mile. Here we are analyzing and philosophizing about the second! Jesus Christ went the second mile — to the cross. But for thirty years He waited, then actively taught — the first mile.

We would be closer to God if we first devoted ourselves to the fulfillment of the hard realities of the first mile, not the idealism of the second. If I could be a good father and neighbor, do a day’s work for a day’s pay, be a good citizen, a good preacher — I would be walking the first mile. And Christ would be with me. And if He cannot walk with me my first mile, He most certainly cannot the second.

From the book
Writing Out Loud
Country Philosophy

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