Littered along the Calvary road will lie the skeletons of our egos, the corpses of our fantasies of control, and the shards of self-righteousness, self-indignant spirituality, and unfreedom. (Brennan Manning, The Signature of Jesus)
Are you ready to take the next step? The step of faith bridging the chasm between knowledge and experience (as Manning calls it)? Are you ready to take up the cross and let the things of this world die away that only Christ may remain?
The teaching of the sermon on the mount is not - Do your duty, but - Do what is not your duty. It is not your duty to go the second mile, to turn the other cheek, but Jesus says if we are His disciples we shall always do these things. (Oswald Chambers)
I wonder how many of us know what it means to go the second mile. I'm not sure I do. Isobel Kuhn, who was a missionary in China, knew the second mile well.
Giving up her comforts to live in truly remote villages --- sounds radical to me.
Walking miles upon miles each day to reach a remote village where they could share the gospel --- sounds radical to me.
Reaching a town of rest only to be invited to a wedding celebration for hours upon end, while her little three year old daughter was passed from person to person --- sounds radical to me.
Speaking, at every opportunity, of Christ's sacrifice and redeeming power to a people who knew only bondage and fear --- sounds radical to me.
But, she says, this was only the first mile. The second mile was to come.
As she lay her head upon her pillow that night (thoroughly exhausted, I'm sure), she heard some girls coming up the stairs to her room. She could not hide for long as there were no doors in these rooms (sounds pretty radical again). And yet, she hoped her silence would dissuade them from entering.
The girls had heard her speaking of Jesus and wanted to know more. Finally, Isobel got up and shared the gospel with these girls despite her fatigue. This was the second mile - her obedience brought three more lives into the kingdom of heaven. All day she had labored, but the fruit of her labors would not be seen until she went the second mile.
Her story has inspired me to be willing to go that extra mile. At the end of a day in my normal, well cushioned life, I am exhausted and find it difficult to give any more of myself. And yet, God is asking me to give Him one more mile for His glory.
Tonight, it might be a phone call of encouragement. Tomorrow night it may be a Bible story past bedtime. Whatever it is, I want to be willing.