Think back to a time in your life when someone went so above and beyond what was expected that you were truly overwhelmed with their graciousness and kindness. For many of us, there have been several times in our lives when this was true: maybe someone helped you deal with significant grief; maybe a stranger stopped on the side of the road to offer you assistance; or maybe a neighbor demonstrated a gesture of true kindness and self-sacrifice.
One such instance in my life occurred not many months ago as my mom was nearing the end of her life. As our family was gathered around my mom (who was still talking at the time, but we now know was within two weeks of passing), Karen and Jim Guiton stopped by the hospice center with some wonderful food for the family who had gathered. While the food was indeed delicious and the dessert was sweet, the kind and loving words that Karen and Jim had to say to my parents were even more so. It was indeed a special and sweet moment that I will never forget. That night we were overwhelmed with the graciousness and kindness of our dear, sweet friends who went above and beyond what was expected.
One seldom-referenced passage where I find this sweet, second-mile-style of Christianity is in Nehemiah 3. In this passage, Nehemiah had just launched a 52-day building campaign that would shape the future of Jerusalem for centuries to come. And for whatever reason, the Lord led Nehemiah to record in sequence the people who labored with him in this God-ordained project. That much we know.
But one thing that jumped out to me as I was reading this passage recently was a phrase repeated five times in this chapter: "another piece" (Nehemiah 3:19, 21, 24, 27, 30). Some of the men and women who worked on the wall and who had already completed one section of wall decided to go the second-mile and complete a second section of wall; they repaired "another piece." Ezer repaired another piece; Meremoth repaired another piece; Binnui repaired another piece; the Tekoites repaired another piece; and Hananiah and Hanun repaired another piece. I can only imagine how encouraged Nehemiah was with these second-mile-style followers of God! Nehemiah was encouraged by barely-known servants of God like Ezer who labored diligently day after day; but for Ezer, one section wasn't enough; he repaired another piece!
Would you be willing to repair "another piece" today? Spend time in prayer this morning asking God to help you be a second-mile-style Christian. When your neighbor asks for one egg, give two. When your pastor asks for help with one section, build two. When your boss asks for your help, go above and beyond. When someone in your church is in need, labor more abundantly. Jesus said, "And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain." (Matthew 5:41).
Written by Edward Barclay