“Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go for two miles.” (Matthew 5:41)
I’ve been arguing with God about my commitments for the past few months in the lead up to Lent & Easter. “Lord, I don’t really want to do all of this.” His response: “You’re the one I’ve chosen.” And so I carry out the mission he has for me, if not begrudgingly at first.
The Lord has called me to lead four different ventures through my parish and Ablaze Mission amidst my own hobbies, friend time, and work. The responsibility of pastoring each group can weigh on me in different ways at different times. God is pressing me into service for a mile and is calling for me to willingly go the second mile with him.
Do any of these infringe on my sleep or health? Nope. Is this restricting my friendship with others? If anything, it’s enhancing them. What do I gain? Community, time with Christ, and the ability to journey with others toward Christ. What do I lose? Naught but time alone to probably do nothing productive. Do I still have time alone to read, pray, relax, pursue my own hobbies, and spend time with friends? Absolutely!
What’s my problem? The desire to control my time. As I lean into God’s plan for me though, I find that I’m much better off with God leading the way. As Jesus says, “My yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Mt 11:30). I’ve been telling people more and more often over the past few months that God oversees my schedule. Where he wants me is where I’ll be, and he’ll make a path for me to get there. I may not be willing initially to go the first mile, but by the time I’ve walked it, I’m more than ready to go the second. Christ brings me and others joy by transfiguring my time.
In this final portion from the Sermon on the Mount before Lent, Christ is imploring us to willingly transform ourselves to serve others enthusiastically and not be resentful. Whatever Christ calls us to do, he never gives us more than we can handle and always has our best interest in mind.
Lent starts on Wednesday. Where is God calling you to go the extra mile?