Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Freedom through giving

To keep the benefits of giving, we have to stay in the realm of truly giving, rather than falling into the trap of "just doing our obligations". The quickest way to get out from under an obligation is to go the second mile. I think that this was the gift Jesus was giving the Jews when He gave the instructions to give their cloak also or to go the second mile in the sermon on the mount. By going two miles, both miles became a gift, so that neither mile was by obligation. Jesus set the Jews free of many oppressive obligations, and to us now if we will listen to that same advice.

I think most people would hear that teaching and paraphrase it in their minds to say "don't just do what you ought, do even beyond that" as a calling to a higher standard, but I think it was more than that, I think He was giving them a tool to lessen the burden of the Roman oppression they were under.

You know how when you were just about to do some task, unasked, and you imagine how everyone will be pleased when they see you've done it. But then someone asks you to do it, thereby stealing your good deed and turning it into an obligation. Well, by using Jesus' method you can take it back by simply going it one better. Load the laundry to the dryer and take out the trash. How cool is that?