When you give more than is required to give, it makes the other person feel you genuinely care. When someone realizes you care, then they may reciprocate the feeling but don’t expect it. When you give extra, it often softens the heart of the other person. For example, if your boss asks you to work overtime, and you work more hours than asked, this may soften your boss’s heart, and they will remember your generosity. Jesus gives the following guidelines in Matthew 5:40-41.
40And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. –Matthew 5:40
We obviously don’t own a tunic and cloak that Jesus references. Albert Barnes writes in his commentary the following. “The Jews wore two principal garments, an interior and an exterior. The interior, here called the ‘coat,’ or the tunic, was made commonly of linen, and encircled the whole body, extending down to the knees. The coat, or tunic, was extended to the neck and had long or short sleeves. Over this was commonly worn an outer garment, here called a ‘cloak,’ or mantle.” In the post called A Wise Person Appeals to Their Accuser, Jesus said to make peace before you get to court with someone who wants to sue you for a wrong. Jesus says in this verse to not only give what they ask, but also give extra.
41And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. –Matthew 5:41
To force someone to go a mile was a well-known event in Jesus’s day. One scenario was if the ruler wanted to deliver a message throughout the kingdom, he would send it by people on horses, boats, ships, etc., much like the pony express of the wild west. For example, King Cyrus stationed horsemen at intervals on all the public highways. These messengers could compel any person whom they might need to help with the quick transmission of the king’s commandments. Another scenario was when someone in authority compels someone to do something for him. In the same respect, the soldiers compelled Simon of Cyrene to carry the cross for Jesus. Luke 23:26 tells us, “And as they led him [Jesus] away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus.” So, when someone asks you to do something, go the extra mile, even if you don’t want to.
Jesus is our Example
Jesus is our example of what it means to give extra. Jesus first gave up his royal life in heaven where there was no suffering. He came to earth to experience our suffering. Hebrews 4:15 states, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” And Hebrews 2:18 states, “For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” Then He went the extra mile for us and willingly gave His life for us, so we can have forgiveness for our sins and to reconcile us to His Father. Now we have the hope of eternal life. Giving more than asked and going the extra mile shows humility and submission. Jesus is our example.
So why is giving more than asked wise to do?
Remember that a wise person shows wisdom in meekness and doing good. Have you ever seen a self-centered, prideful person give more than asked? Most often, prideful people don’t give anything at all and often will argue with you if you even ask. Pridefulness creates tension and conflict, which is not wise at all because it creates resentment and resistance. It is wise to give extra because it softens the heart of the one who asks, and it creates peace and harmony. Can you see how softening a person’s heart is wise? The parable of the Good Samaritan is an example of giving extra and going the extra mile. This was an example of how to love your neighbor, which is a command of God.
You can easily do a test of Jesus’ instructions. Next time your spouse asked you to do something, do extra and see what happens. If you don’t want to do extra and resent doing anything your spouse asks, check for a prideful spirit, which is very destructive. Go the extra mile for your spouse, children, or boss, and see how their attitude and your relationships change for the better.
May God bless you as you grow in wisdom.
How to Convert Pridefulness to Gentleness and Humility
A Wise Person Seeks Peace and Reconciliation
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