Above and Beyond the Call of Duty
I’ve seen it in college. I see it at work. I see it on TV. People all over the world enjoy doing the minimum amount of work possible and still yielding rewards from it. Just getting by with the requirements is the norm and becomes grounds for bragging for many. This trend has and will produce a generation of unmotivated workers. Still, the few who do actually take the initiative to give 100% get noticed. Even more so are the ones who give 110%; basically those who go the extra mile.
There are several scriptures that tell us to go the extra mile, to do all that we do with all our might, and to do so for God’s glory. One way I think of this summarized by the phrase, “going A and B the C of D” (which stands for going ‘above and beyond the call of duty). Interestingly, going above and beyond the call of duty is tied to gaining more faith.
I wouldn’t normally connect the two concepts of ‘going the extra mile’ and ‘faith’ but this analogy is not new. In Luke 17 we read that Jesus’s answered the disciples question, ‘how do we get more faith’ by talking about doing more than what is expected and required.
Luk 17:5 And the apostles said to the Lord, Give us more faith. Luk 17:6 And the Lord said, If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed, you might say to this sycamine tree, Be rooted up and be planted in the sea! And it would obey you.
Luk 17:7 But which of you who has a servant plowing or feeding will say to him immediately after he has come from the field, Come, recline?
Luk 17:8 Will he not say to him, Prepare something so that I may eat, and gird yourself and serve me until I eat and drink. And afterward you shall eat and drink.
Luk 17:9 Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not.
Luk 17:10 So likewise you, when you shall have done all the things commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants, for we have done what we ought to do.
This is not to say that we wouldn’t be profitable to people, but that we cannot expect to just “pass the class.” In college, you can ‘pass’ all your classes and settle with a C when you could have done better. This is not ideal, nor does it show your willingness to work for a better grade.
God looks at our attitude. If we just want to get by with doing what we have to do, God is in no way bound to ‘thank us’ and much less give us salvation and eternal life.
Knowing that doing more than was even asked of you is advantageous not only to feel accomplished personally, but in some ways, it can help build your faith, and here’s how:
Trust God; He’ll take care of it
Proverbs 16:3 tells us:
“Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.”
When we trust God and follow His ways, our purpose/thoughts will follow automatically. He will add to our faith. Faith is trusting in God, and committing our work, and our best effort shows and produces it.
We can put our whole heart into doing what is required, and other things that may be implied by the heart of the matter, knowing that doing any task with all of our might would be pleasing to the Master. Proverbs 16:9 states
“A man’s heart plans his way, but Jehovah directs his steps.”
We must ask God for faith, and know that it does come from Him, but we need to do our part as well, to show God we have the heart to handle such faith. We need to allow God to direct our steps!
David and That Big Guy
I’m also reminded of the familiar example of faith that shows how committing our works to God and going that extra mile will add to our faith. In the account of David facing Goliath, we obviously get the impression that David was not lacking in faith. He boldly went before a giant, most likely twice his size, and proclaimed that this ‘uncircumcised Philistine’ would fall before the armies of the Lord! That takes a certain level of faith to do that.
But the part of the account that some feel David lacked some faith in would be the question of why he took 5 stones instead of one. Was David afraid he was going to miss? Is “five” significant of other principles of Christianity?
There were 5 cities of Philistia that had united to come up to defy the army of Israel: Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, and Gath. Until the Philistines were removed, they would be a stumbling block to Israel being united, prosperous and strong. We’re told in 2 Sam 21:22 that there were 4 other giants that were later killed (once David was king).
These four were born to the giant in Gath, and fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants.
Speculation on my part perhaps, but I believe that David would have known about these other giants, and would have prepared to face them if needed. David knew that taking out Goliath would not wipe out the entire Philistine threat. I believe that David went the extra mile in this scenario. In battle he ran full force towards Goliath. I believe he knew his first stone would hit the target, and I believe he was prepared to go the extra mile.
Which came first, his faith, or his willingness to go above and beyond duty? I’m not sure. Faith and a willingness to go 110% to do God’s will go hand in hand…
Easy as ABCD
The scriptures in Luke, and the example of David are good things for me to remember in life now. For some of you, the tasks at hand may be at work, numerous tasks in the home, or various other things we may engage in. Let us all remember to show we can do more than just ‘pass the class.’ Let us allow God to direct our steps by putting our works into God’s hands, and remember the example of David who was asked to kill one giant, but was ready to take on five. In doing these things, we are showing God we are willing to go above and beyond the call of duty!