I remember a lesson my father taught me growing up. Growing up on the farm, it was not unusual to borrow various tools from neighbors. The lesson I learned was simply this. When you borrow something, always return it in better condition than when you got it. Thus before a tool was returned to its owner, we would clean it up, sharpen it if necessary, and make sure it was in good condition.
This idea was a lesson on doing more than what was expected. And hence the title of our thoughts today. Do what is expected, and then some.
James Francis Burns was Franklin Roosevelt’s Secretary of State. He once observed, “the difference between average and great people is the mentality of ‘and then some’.” Doing more than expected, more than required, will set one apart from the crowd.
Let us aim to be those who go over and above what is expected. There are several examples of this philosophy in the Scriptures.
In the letter to Philemon, Paul said of his friend, “knowing that you will do even more than I say.” Philemon was clearly a person with the character of “and then some”.
Jesus encouraged his followers to go the extra mile. In the 5th chapter of Matthew, Jesus noted that if anyone compels you to go one mile, go with him two. At that time, Roman law required Jewish citizens to assist the Roman soldier by carrying their burdens for one mile. The Jews deeply resented this law. Some even had the exact mile marked from their home to know precisely when their responsibility had been met and they could thus drop the burden. Their attitude toward the Romans was they would not go one step further than the law required.
Jesus taught them to go over and above what was expected. They were to do more than the minimum. The first mile was the law mile. The second mile was the love mile. This second mile was the “and then some” mile.
As we live our lives let us be interested in how we can better serve our fellowman. Rather than having the resentful nature of “I’m not going one step further than I have to” let us develop the “and then some” attitude.
1 Cor 10:24 states, Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.
If we truly care about each other, we like Philemon, will do more than is expected.
GOD, help me to that end today.