It's brilliant, isn't it?
I'm talking about Jesus' teaching on how far we're called to go beyond what's sensible. In case you don't know it, here's the guts of it:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you" (Matthew 5:38-42)Before I get to the application, consider the context: God introduced the concept of “an eye for an eye” when the Jews had just left the oppression of Egypt and were wandering in the desert. Like many of the commands He gave at that time, this one shielded the Jews from acting in haste on issues that they might become passionate about, such as exacting revenge that exceeded how they had been wronged. By practicing patience, an individual would see the big picture and ideally not seek punishment to a crime that was more than exactly equal to it.
Over the years the Jews lost sight of this original intent and began to utilize it legalistically. By the time Jesus ministered on earth he had to uproot how the concept had become a sense of entitlement. People would create loopholes in God’s commands through additional laws they created that let them strike back through lawsuits, attacks, slander and financial oppression. Jesus countered that being offended or having someone ask something of you should never get in the way of displaying God’s grace and character relationally. To cap it off, His final illustration involved going an extra mile beyond what was legally required if a Roman soldier demanded a Jewish male carry a heavy burden for him.
On that note, consider the 50/100/200 principle:
- The average person says they expect a 50/50 relationship with things that matter.
- Example, "If I call up _______ and ask for _________, I expect they'll meet me half-way at helping me get what I need."
- The average person actually assumes a 100% response to their 50% effort.
- Example, "I called up _______ and left a message, so now it's up to them to call me. I'm not calling them again. I did my part and this frustration of not getting in contact with someone better be apologized for. Why isn't there better communication that fits within the scope of my world?"
- Jesus calls Christians to bless others with a 200% "extra mile" effort.
- Example, "I knew who to call and when to reach them because they've made it so easy to know these things. When they did call me, it wasn't just to meet my request but to find out if I had anything else happening they could serve me in. I was valued as a person."
It's why one of the newer catchphrases around our church leadership team is to do the "200%" thing. Here's why:
- It's mathematically impossible to go beyond 100%. That means that for this to happen it has to be a "beyond you" effort... God has to be involved.
- Some people care about these extra touches. While others are more laid back about a number of things, the other half of the population cares about details and commitment. They will literally have the thing God is trying to grow in them spoiled if something is not attended to. This can't be ever perfectly handled, but it can be addressed.
"Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men." (Ephesians 6:7)