From Generation to Generation

Dear Natalie, Dylan, Jake, and Grant,

I want to share a little bit with you about “going the extra mile.” It’s an expression that originally came from Jesus himself. We read in Matthew 5:41…

If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.

What Jesus was saying is that we should always do more than what is expected of us. The people in this world who have been the biggest successes have always “gone the extra mile.” In other words, they have worked harder and longer than anyone else. They didn’t have to. They could have just worked the same as everyone else. But had they done that, they would have never become successful. They would have remained average and we would have never heard about their remarkable lives.

There are lots and lots of smart, talented, athletic, and creative people in this world. But what helps a person rise to the top is their “work-ethic.” A “work-ethic” is how a person works. Are they lazy? Do they work hard? Do they do more or less than other people? Do they look for new and better ways to do their job? Do they try to help other people out? Do they try to add value to other people or to the organization to which they belong? The answers to those questions help us discover what a person’s “work-ethic” is.

If we’re going to glorify God in everything that we say, do, and think, then we’re going to have strive for excellence and faithfulness. Doing something halfway just won’t do it. If you want to be a really good pianist, football player, soccer player, student, Taekwondo student, blocks-builder, surgeon, writer, pastor, preacher-teacher, painter, mommy, daddy, etc., etc., etc., then you will have to work very hard. If you’re told by a teacher or coach to study or practice one hour, then you should study or practice two hours. In other words, you should do more than you have to. Not only will it help you become better, but it will show other people that you are a hard worker and that you are trying to bring glory and honor to God in everything that you do.

But it’s not just in those areas where we should go the extra mile. We should do that in all our relationships as well. Be the very best brother or sister you can be. Be the very best son or daughter you can be. Be the very best friend you can be. Be the very best Christian you can be! Mommy and I should be the very best mommy and daddy and husband and wife we can be. We should be the very best neighbors we can be. You get the idea? We want to live the kind of lives that make people take notice so that they will give praise to God (Matthew 5:16).

Therefore, I would encourage you to never take the easy way out of something. Never do the minimum that you have to do. Always do extra. Always work harder. Always go the extra mile, no matter what it is. I believe that when you do that, and you’re seeking to do it for God’s glory, that God will honor you for your faithfulness.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be the best you can be at something. In fact, I think it honors God. But you must always remember to be humble and depend upon God to give you the strength and wisdom that you need. Always ask yourself: Are my words, thoughts, deeds, attitudes, and so on, glorifying God…or me? As your Daddy I would tell you to always try to glorify God and not yourself. Let God honor you. You don’t have to try to honor yourself.

I hope you will think about and discuss with one another what I have written today. Mommy knows a great deal about this sort of stuff and I’m sure she will be very helpful in explaining to you anything that you don’t quite understand.

Remember that I love you very much. I have prayed for you today.

Soli Deo Gloria (which means: To God Alone be the Glory),
Daddy

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