I was reading Matthew 5:41 from where we get the expression “go the extra mile” — “If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles.”
It got me thinking about the theme of “Emmanuel, God with us.” God with us brings so much extra that transcends our little worlds, that gives us something more.
What if “going the extra mile” is more than what we can do for someone else? Yes, there is always that. Going the extra the mile is good when serving someone... even someone demanding (as is the Matthew, “Sermon on the Mount” context). But perhaps in reality, it ends up benefiting the one doing the going (aka, serving)?
Going the extra mile serves to offer a new perspective. It creates the space to consider that something more, beyond my little bubble. To experience a broader scope — someone else’s reality. And God gave us an example by coming to dwell in ours.
Emmanuel, left his throne to give us a home forever with him. And isn’t that really why we “go the extra mile” in the first place? Because he is with us in every step along the way?
So going the extra mile can be a gift to the one who goes. It can give empathy, which leads to to compassion. The kind of compassion that loves like Emmanuel. And that kind of love changes everything.
So this Christmas season when you find yourself serving others, perhaps carrying their gear that extra mile… consider the gift you are receiving in doing so. And consider the One with you as you go.
“So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.” (John 1:14a, NLT)
“If we’re going to move out of L.A. we might as well go where we already have family.” When I said those words to my husband in late 2004, little did I know that by Spring of 2006 we would be moving to Placerville!
After much prayer, I took a “leap of faith” and agreed to move. I knew this could be good in many ways, but questioned how I would find ministry fulfillment. I gave up much to move to Placerville - one was ministry with my parents (I was a leader in the church my dad pastored). The quality of ministry life I lived in Southern California was a gift. I didn’t expect God to replicate it.
I admit the first 6 months here were challenging. But God’s faithfulness is everlasting, his mercies are new every morning! He met me each day with his powerful presence, reminding me that home is wherever he is, not something determined by earthly situations. We found Cold Springs Church within a month. Yet I felt God nudge me to remain quiet about my call to ministry. So for months we simply attended and fell in love with the people of Cold Springs and Placerville itself.
Long story short, on March 27, 2007, I was invited on staff at Cold Springs. I cannot say enough that I have consistently felt in my “sweet spot” here. Pastor David is not simply a phenomenal preacher and pastor, he is an exceptional leader who brings out the best in those around him. My dad was a tough act to follow. God knew this. God knew the kind of leader I would need before I even thought to go into ministry.
I am so grateful that God knows us better than we know ourselves! If it were solely up to me, I would have never been bold enough to jump into the unknown. We are called to do the things we cannot do without Jesus. That is the only reason I took the leap.
I love the people who call Cold Springs Church their family. I love that. Calling a church your “faith family.” That’s what we are. And I wasn’t sure I would find that with the same depth again. My “leap of faith” wasn’t that big of a leap after all. Because what I forgot was that my little faith was all based upon God’s great faithfulness, not my own! And isn’t that a great relief?!
With much love,
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. (Psalm 136:1, NLT)