Extra Ordinary Giving

"And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to anyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you."

(Matthew 5:41-42)

washing dishesAsk children what their parents would most appreciate receiving for Christmas. Many will mention specific types of gifts. Help the children realize that parents are grateful when their children respond to them in love and obedience. Many parents would welcome this gift of a positive attitude for Christmas! Parents would appreciate a loving, obedient response from their children when they are asked to complete a chore. Encourage the children to make this Christmas season extra special by going the second mile!

This concept will probably be a new one for the children. Explain that going the second mile means not only doing what is expected (going the first mile), but also doing more than what is expected. For example, setting the dinner table would be going the first mile. Clearing the table and washing the dishes could be going the second mile. Feeding the dog would be going the first mile. Walking the dog or brushing the dog could be going the second mile. Cleaning one's room would be going the first mile. Cleaning an additional room could be the second mile. The key to a true second mile is that the chore has not been requested or expected.

Help the children make a list of chores that their parents normally ask them to do. Then list an idea next to each chore that could be an example of going the second mile. If a parent is leading this exercise, encourage the children to focus on the chores that assist the other parent or a grandparent and decide how to go the second mile for that parent or grandparent.

Set a timeframe for the second-mile giving to be completed. Have a time when the children can share the experience of going the second mile. Encourage the children to look for opportunities throughout the year where they can participate in second-mile giving!

Prayer

Dear Lord, help us to serve others joyfully. You have given us so much! We often take your gifts for granted. Help us show our love and our appreciation for you and for others in our lives by going the second mile. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

Discussion Questions

  • How did it feel when you completed the second mile for someone?
  • How did the person respond when you did more than was expected?
  • How does second-mile giving honor God? How does it show that you are being a good steward of your time?
  • Parents: Have you gone the second mile for your church, your spouse, and/or your neighbors?

Janet Zimmerman is an ordained United Methodist deacon, who serves as Christian Education Director at Church of the Lakes in Canton, Ohio.

Originally posted in2004.

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