Walking the Extra Mile
One thing Lutherans are clear about. We don’t do anything because it will earn a reward from God. We don’t have to. God who is gracious and good simply loves us and offers life to us because God is gracious and good. That’s the end of that!
However, that doesn’t mean that God doesn’t care what we do. Quite the contrary. God has invested everything in us (even the life of Jesus) in order to free us up from being overly cautious or selfish about ourselves. There is no reason for us to worry or fear that somehow there isn’t enough life or love to go around. The story of Jesus’ death and resurrection reminds us how persistent God is. Even at our worst God pursues us with love.
We’ve been looking at the 10 Commandments for the last few weeks and this week we will hear the ones that relate to personal ethics. They include things like not lying, stealing, committing adultery, and killing each other. These are pretty much the common sense basics for human ethics. When we want to believe we have done enough to measure up we can look at the list through the easy lens. If we haven’t cheated on our spouse or shot someone today, we feel pretty good about how we are doing.
But Luther looks at these commands through the eyes of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Each commandment is not just a standard to be attained. It is the minimum place from which we start. Freed in Christ we are free to go the extra mile and do more than the minimums. We can ask in each situation, what does God desire most here and how can my actions help? To have received life in Christ is not only to know that God loves you. It is also to reflect that love as fully and completely as you can in all that you do.
So go and have fun being an extra mile person. God won’t love you any more for it (God already loves you completely). But God’s love will shine through you in new and meaningful ways. Who knows, that may change someone’s life.