How easily we forget the real discomfort we invite into our lives when we take just one step forward. It’s one thing to read “from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt,” and to organize a clothing drive. It’s quite another, when someone new comes into your life, and you graciously offer them a welcome-to-the-neighborhood casserole, and after they accept it, they ask if you’d watch their dog next week while they’re out of town, and gather their mail and water their plants, too.
Until the gift we offer starts to hurt us, it isn’t anything to do with the Gospel. We might give away our coat out of the goodness of our own heart, but shedding our shirt can only come by the grace and strength of God. We might invite a new couple over for dinner, but showing up to babysit their kids each month so they can take a date without paying an arm and a leg, that commitment comes by the grace and strength of God.