September 11, 2008
And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Matthew 5:41
Being on the road as much as I am, sometimes I am forced to take a taxi.
That I have ridden in cabs and am still with you to write this devotion is a testimony to the power of prayer. Indeed, I have never been on a plane, train, or ocean-going ship that has put the fear of the Lord into me as thoroughly and efficiently as have some of my taxi rides to the airport.
This is why I wasn't surprised to read the US News & World Report article when it informed me that St. Paul, Minnesota, the host city for the Republican National Convention, had sent their taxi drivers to finishing school.
The idea of a cab driver going to charm school painted all kinds of interesting mental pictures:
Although I imagined all of that stuff, it remains true the city of St. Paul wanted its drivers to go the distance for their customers. An "extra mile" is exactly how one cab driver put it.
That driver may not have known, but he was paraphrasing the Savior who told His followers to go "two miles." In Jesus' day, a representative of Rome had the right to force a non-citizen to carry a load for a mile. It was a custom most folks found humiliating and demeaning. Jesus, going against that common feeling, said His people should voluntarily go a second mile.
Think about that for a second. Jesus wasn't telling us to be nice to folks who are nice to us or who are paying us. He was telling us to treat our enemies with care and kindness.
And if you're thinking Jesus is asking a lot of you, remember this: He practiced what He preached. Even from the cross, with His executioners at His feet gambling for His clothing, He still spoke words of forgiveness. Indeed, He lived, suffered, died, and rose so that this entire world of sin might be reconciled with the heavenly Father.
Going the extra mile--it's something each of us should try today.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, accept my adoration for having gone the second mile and saving me. Now, as Your disciple, may I be empowered to bear witness to the change Your sacrifice has made in my life. In Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries