Read or tell the following story to help kids understand the expression, "Go the extra mile."
Samuel was hot and thirsty as he ran errands for his mother. The sun beat down on him. The dry, dusty road was crowded with people and animals. He couldn’t wait to run this last errand and join his friends playing games under the trees by his house. His dad said that now that he was twelve he was going to have to be more responsible, but Samuel would still rather play with his friends than do anything else he could think of.
Out of the corner of his eye he saw a Roman soldier. Samuel hated the Romans. He had heard his dad and the other men talk about how the Romans made them pay such high taxes and made too many rules for them to live by. He grew up learning that good Jews did not like the Romans. Samuel hurried past the soldier, but just as he passed him the soldier shouted, “Hey you, carry this!”
Samuel knew better than to run away, because no one ever ran from a Roman soldier. He also knew that it was the law—“A Roman soldier could force you to carry his load . . . but only for one mile.” Samuel wanted to spit on the man’s backpack and run away, but he slowly picked up the pack and followed behind him. “One mile is ALL he’s getting,” Samuel said under his breath. With each step he took he chanted, “One mile, one mile, not a step more. One mile, one mile, not a step more.”
As Samuel followed behind the soldier, he remembered the day that he heard Jesus teaching on the mountain near his town. Jesus had said, “Whosoever shall compel you to go a mile, go with him two.” Samuel knew that Jesus had been talking about the very situation he was in, but how could he? TWO MILES! That was a long way. Samuel didn’t want to go ONE mile, much less TWO miles.
"Why did Jesus tell them to do that?” he wondered. As he walked, he thought about it some more and decided he would put Jesus’ words to a test. Jesus had something other hard things that day about loving your enemy and doing good to people who hurt you. This was all new to Samuel, but he believed that Jesus was a teacher from God and he wanted to obey God’s words.
Finally the Roman soldier stopped and said, “That’s one mile.” He waited for Samuel to drop the pack, but instead Samuel said, “I’ll carry it another one.” The soldier didn’t say anything, but kept on walking. After a while, Samuel looked at the soldier and saw how young he was. “Where are you going?” Samuel asked him.
“I’m going back to Rome,” he answered. They continued walking and finally the soldier asked Samuel, “Why would you carry my pack a second mile?” Samuel told him about Jesus and some of the things that He had said on the mountain that day. The soldier seemed very interested and told Samuel, “I would like to know more about a man whose teachings would cause someone to go the second mile like you just did.”
They talked until the second mile was up and Samuel handed the soldier his pack. He could see how tired the soldier was and was glad he had done what Jesus had told them to do. He raced back to town, tired, but glad he had done the right thing.
What does it mean to go the extra mile? (It means to give a little extra, to give more than is expected, etc.)
Being an EXTRA MILE Christian means that you do a little extra or that you do more than is expected.
Time to Go the EXTRA Mile
Announce to the family that a certain day is the "GO the EXTRA Mile Day," preferably on a Saturday when you can all be together.
(Or make it a "Go the EXTRA Mile Evening" if you do it one evening.)
Write each family member's name (or names of close friends and extended family) on a slip of paper. Set the timer for random times and when the timer sounds, each person must choose a name and think of a way to do a little more—do something extra for the person whose name they chose. (Don't underestimate the power of small things—a kind word, help with a chore, a homemade card, an inexpensive gift, etc.)
Have fun being an Extra Mile Christian!
Loving Our Enemies
Jesus said that He didn't come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it. He then gave them examples in this week's lesson about what that meant. For example: the law said to love your neighbor, but Jesus said not only to love your neighbor, but to also love your enemies.
Who might be an enemy? (Someone who is mean to us; someone who hurts our feelings; someone who excludes us, etc.)
How do we feel when someone is mean to us or hurts our feelings? (We want to be mean to them; we want to hurt them back, etc.)
Loving our enemies is impossible to do on our own. We NEED God's help.
Illustrate this by asking one child to give another child a certain item (pencil, dollar bill, candy bar, etc.). When she tells you that she doesn't have that item, ask, "Would you be willing to give it to him, if I gave it to you?" (Hopefully, she will say yes.) Supply the needed item for the child to give.
How were you able to give the _______ to him? (You gave me what I needed.)
There are times when we will have a difficult time loving our enemies. The only way to do this is with God's help. We can ask Him to fill us with HIS love. (After all, God loves us even when we do wrong.) He can fill us with His love so we can love even our enemies.
How did Jesus love His enemies? (He loved and forgave those who nailed Him to a cross; He died for those who rejected Him, etc.)