What Would You Do?
A Chinese rice farmer, who was a new Christian, had a serious problem. Every day he pumped water by hand for his fields from an irrigation stream. It was very hard work.
Every night, his neighbors, who lived below him on a hillside, drained the water off the Christian farmer’s fields onto his own fields! He did not have to work hard and pump water by hand for his fields.
The Christian farmer went to some of his Christian friends and asked for advice. They prayed together and asked God for guidance. What do you think the farmer decided to do? What would you have done?
- Do you think the farmer and his friends went to the neighbor’s house to talk to him about his behavior?
- Do you think the farmer’s friends helped him move to a new farm?
- Do you think the Christians stood guard over the farmer’s fields so the neighbor could not drain the water?
- Do you think the Christian worked twice as hard, and pumped water for his neighbor’s land in the morning and his own land in the afternoon?
- Do you think the Christians held a revival in the farmer’s field and invited the neighbor?
Perhaps any of those responses would have been acceptable. But after praying for God’s guidance, the farmer decided to work twice as hard, pumping water for both himself and his neighbor. Maybe he was thinking about Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:39–42 that say: “But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.”
How do you think the neighbor responded? Did he decide to follow Jesus because of the Christians’ example? Or did he greedily enjoy the water the Christian farmer pumped without even thanking him?
After he prayed, the Christian farmer made his decision about what to do without knowing what his neighbor’s reaction would be. His goal was to be obedient to Jesus.
To Think About
We may not have to hand pump water, walk two miles with someone, or give someone our cloak and tunic. Can you think of some examples from your life in which you might “go the second mile?” You might consider situations that involve household chores, sharing, school assignments, or responding to rudeness.