Whatever you do give 100% unless it’s giving blood
Today we continue the re-vamped Bible verses – how about Matthew 5:41?
If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.
Or in modern speak –
Whatever you do give 100% unless it’s giving blood.
The original verse is about the practise of impressment, when a Roman Soldier could command a civilian to carry their pack a mile for them. Jesus was saying that you should even help those with whom you don’t agree. Not just help them but do more than you’re expected to.
Society doesn’t do this anymore, at least it’s not common practise anymore. Here, in Australia, on the whole, we seem to have a “that’ll do” attitude.
The job isn’t quite finished but that’ll do
I went to church three weeks ago, that’ll do
I helped a little bit, that’ll do
I saw someone else give that homeless woman 50c, that’ll do
Climate change? I turn some lights off sometimes, that’ll do
Insert need here – Other people help, that’ll do
People – it isn’t good enough. I don’t care if you share my faith, have a different one or don’t have one at all – in a world with so much suffering as ours “that’ll do” is never good enough. Basic humanity demands that everyone has just that, basic humanity. When did it become normal for someone to work over 40 hours a week and still not be able to care for their family? When did we so shut our eyes to the needs of others that it became okay for some children to go to school hungry because their parents can’t afford food for them?
I met a guy the other day at a food van who has a choice – either he or his two kids eat. He can’t afford both. And before you shout that “he should get a job” he has TWO and still can’t afford to pay rent, bills, etc and get food.
And this is becoming more and more common. Western ‘civilisation’ globally is now finding it has a new emerging class – the working poor. People who do work hard and who still can’t afford to live. People who struggle everyday to try and make ends meet only to find the gap between the ends is getting bigger and bigger.
If ‘that’ll do’ then I pity you. If you can read and understand that concept, if you agree it’s happening and your heart doesn’t say that you should do something about it then your faith and mine are very different. Our views of social justice will not agree and our understanding of who Jesus is and what he wants us to do is markedly at odds.
The faith I follow demands I walk with those in need – not to make me feel better but to make their lives easier. Jesus told his followers to do that for the invading army. Carry the burdens of the Roman soldiers – not just carry them but to carry them twice as far as you need to. Go the extra mile.
It’s not just Christians that have this idea; most (if not all) of the faiths of the world do; Muslims do, Jews do, Buddhists do – we do not have a monopoly on compassion and caring, but we are commanded to do it.
When life is fair for all, when everyone, regardless of their faith, or colour, or background can feed their family and have basic human rights then that’ll do – until then go the extra mile; until then give 100% in everything, well, unless it’s giving blood.
(And yes, that is a Joel Osteen quote – I don’t agree with all he says, I’m sure he doesn’t agree with all I say but we agree on the following Jesus bit and that’s a start.)