Go Above & Beyond (Mark 4:8, NIV) by Carley Evans

Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”

Jesus implies all Christians are not the same; that not everyone who is deemed ‘good soil’ will produce the same amount or same quality of crop. Each individual who blooms in God’s good garden carries the seed of faith. Where we go, who we meet, how we behave towards one another and towards others — these determine whether we produce any crop at all and what kind of crop we produce from our seed of faith.

With our faith in God, do we then sow doubt, fear, self-hatred, bigotry? Or do use our faith to sow understanding, peace, love, forgiveness, tolerance? Do we use the Word of God to browbeat those we consider ‘unbelievers’ or do we use the Word to accept them for who and where they are? Do we love those who mistreat us? Do we pray for those who try to kill us?

These are hard questions to answer honestly.

Some Christians wish to build walls between neighbors, perhaps after the adage, “Good fences makes good neighbors.” Others want to arm themselves in an effort to protect life and oftentimes property.

I see Jesus shaking His head, perhaps with a wry smile, maybe with tears. Walls and guns do not match the Lord I serve. Rather, the Jesus I know rips down barriers between people, and commands me to turn the other cheek, to go two miles when forced to go one, to give my coat when my shirt is stolen, to love my enemies and do good to those who mistreat me. I believe in modern times, it’s termed, “To go above and beyond…”