. . . And Then Some

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 5:39b – 42 (NIV)

Several years ago I was introduced to the phrase, ” . . . and then some.”  It was brought up in the context of customer service and described a policy of doing what was expected and then some!  While the wording was new, the concept was not.  It was the way I was raised and taught by my parents as we did business at the local farmer’s market.  When someone would buy a pound of produce, we would weigh out the pound to make sure the customer was getting what they paid for  and then we would add a little extra to the bag . . . and then some.  For me, it had become a way of life so when I heard this phrase it resonated deep within my spirit.

This way of doing things is much older than me . . . even much older than my parents.  It is the way Jesus taught that His followers should live in relationship with one another and with the world!  As a Christ-follower, you ought to do what is expected, and then some!  To go above and beyond what is expected is a very rare character trait these days both in personal lives and in ministry organizations.  If you look at the teachings of Jesus you will see that it was too common or popular in His day either.  As I look at my life and situations I have been in, I think there are a number of reasons why this “. . . and then some” lifestyle has a tendency to drift out of use.

One of those reasons is that it is unnatural.  Left to our own desires, we are more likely to look out for our own needs first rather than consider what would benefit others.  It takes work, discipline, and the power of God’s Spirit to go beyond what is expected or required.  If we are not deliberate about serving others and going the extra mile, we typically slide into the path of least resistance and only do what we have to do.  

We also severely underestimate the opposition.  On the surface, it doesn’t look like that big of a deal — a little extra here, a little extra there.  What difference does it really make.  It is not really that big of a deal.  I can do this with my eyes closed.  While many times the “. . . and then some” that I am talking about is indeed small and seemingly easy, never underestimate the power that is in it.  Because giving beyond expectations is a Christ-like quality, the enemy attacks with great speed and force to get us to stop.  

Pride often stands in the way of our living an “. . . and then some” lifestyle.  We have a hard time humbling ourselves to serve others.  Pride says that I am most important and I should only do that which lifts me up.  We read the words of Jesus from Matthew 5 and pride begins making excuses as to why that doesn’t apply to me.  Pride says that every good thing in my life is because of me and if I worked hard for all that I am and all that I have, then so can everyone else.  Pride fails to remember that “every good and perfect gift comes from above” and that God’s purpose in giving us various gifts is so we will use each one for the benefit of others — His body.

Related to pride is the sin of greed.  We go to great lengths to disguise this but, if we look under the masks, greed is often found holding on to what we have while demanding that others give us more.  When greed and selfishness control our life, the “. . . and then some” lifestyle completely disappears.  Instead of going above and beyond, we find ways to do even less.  When greed takes over there is not only no “. . . and then some”, but even those things that have always been included are now extra.  Our eyes and mind shift from “How can I serve the people who God has brought to me?” to “How can they serve and support me?”.  This is a very dangerous place to find ourselves in because we end up losing so much more than the minor things that we have tried to hold on to.  Jesus asked the question, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world yet forfeit his soul?”  The combination of greed and pride sets us against God and God against us — “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

It is my prayer that I continue to learn and practice this lifestyle of “. . . and then some”.  I pray that each person reading this will spend time with God examining how you are doing in serving others and building them up according to their needs.  I pray that the world has a clearer picture of Jesus as we serve them in His name — doing what is needed and then some!

Survivor

We add and we tally,
      we count all our things.
Perhaps if we have enough
      we could be kings.
We say that we don’t want
      all that there is.
We only want more than
      he would call his.
This cold fascination
      becomes very odd.
When all we desire
      is to simply be God.

My goal is quite simple
      when I’m living large.
I don’t care what you need
      just put me in charge!
I’m more important
      than all who you know.
Just ask and I’ll tell you,
      it really is so.
 My goal is to out wit,
      out last, and out play.
To step on all others
      each and every day.

This does not sound right,
      I’m really quite sure.
To live like the world,
      God would not call pure.
So I’ll re-examine
      and make a fresh start.
God doesn’t look outside,
      He looks in my heart.
If it’s full of darkness
      and evil desire.
God fills it with His light
      and cleanses with fire.

He calls me to look at
      the way I do measure.
And to chase after boldly
      the things He calls treasure.
To climb heaven’s ladder
      is different you see.
It’s all about Jesus
      and what Christ did for me.
And so I do tally
      and measure and add.
Not for my own good —
      it’s all for my Dad!

Yep, another night hanging out with God and He shows me another poem that He had put in my  head.  I pray that this is a help and encouragement to whoever God brought it out for — even if that is only me.

In prayer,
Tom

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