November 14th 2009

Going Above And Beyond

10th of a series of studies from Philemon

“…I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask”

Philemon 21 (NIV UK)

Once I was in a job I hated. I used to count the minutes until 5pm when I could clock out and go home. I only did what was required of me and that grudgingly. It was no secret – everyone knew that I would never do more than I was asked. They did not pay me enough and my view was that “they” took advantage of me. They probably did, as some employers do. 

For the believer, serving Jesus is another matter. He is not some harsh master, demanding that we should do this, that and the next thing. Yet, sometimes we act like he is and just do what is expected of us and no more. 

In the note above Paul is confident that Philemon will do more than requested. It is the kind of person Philemon is. He goes above and beyond. 

A simple example. Your wife says she is busy and would you mind making her a cup of tea. Dragging yourself from the TV you wonder just how busy she really is but, for the sake of peace and because somewhere at the back of your mind you think you should, you make the tea and take it to her. What if you took a biscuit for her as well? Or, what if you anticipated her request, and made tea without being asked? Could she cope? 

Let me give you another example. Someone asks if you could help put the chairs away at church. You see a row of four and decide to put them away and that’s it: others can put the rest away. Then you think, ok, I’ll do more. You stack more chairs and then see a broom and decide to sweep the floor. Then you put the song books back in the cupboard. Now let’s not get carried away! Actually, often that’s what going above and beyond is all about. Christ says that if someone asks you to walk a mile with them, why not go two? 

God goes above and beyond for us. That is what the gospel tells us. And, in our dealing with others, let’s think of ways in which we can do the same. 


Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21).


Study by James Henderson 

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