A Few Thoughts About a Dirty Word

Hello friends.  I haven’t posted here in a while.  Some of you have asked if there’s something wrong.  Not at all!  I’ve been spending almost all of my spare time working on my second novel.  The words have been flowing freely and I decided to ride the wave as long as possible.  But I did want to jump back in here and share something that’s been on my mind…

Duty is a 4-letter word, and in many people’s minds it’s a dirty 4-letter word.  It didn’t used to be.  There was a time when people took great pride in doing what they were supposed to do.  But nowadays we’ve gotten away from that because we’ve bought into the notion that everything we do is supposed to feel good and be enjoyable.  You can see it everywhere.

People whose marriages have lost their spark start cheating.

People who hate their jobs show up late for work with a long face and do the bare minimum.

People who are bored with church either drop out or hop from one to another.

Or people who’ve grown tired of their ministries bail out and leave somebody else to pick up the slack.

I think it’s high time we realized that much of what we do in life is never going to be fun.  I was talking to a young mother recently.  She had several little kids.  She said, “You know, I was figuring it up the other day and I think I’ve now changed over 5,000 diapers in my life.”  And then she added, “And I’ve hated every one of them.”

Changing diapers is something that never, ever becomes fun.  But as a parent, it’s your duty to do it.  And there are so many things in life that are that way.  You may hate to clean house, or mow the grass, or go visit your mother-in-law, but you know it’s the right thing to do.  There’s a little poem that says:

I slept and dreamed that life was beauty, then woke and learned that it was duty.

That’s what Paul was getting at in 2 Corinthians 4:1 when he said, “And so, since God in his mercy has given us this wonderful ministry, we never give up.”  Believe me, Paul had plenty of hard times when he could have easily given up.  But he realized that he had a responsibility that was greater than his feelings or his need for personal enjoyment.

I’m only guessing here, but I have a hunch that the person God respects most is not the person who loves his responsibility and does it with gusto, but the person who doesn’t love his responsibility but plods along and does it anyway.

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2 Responses to A Few Thoughts About a Dirty Word

  1. Tamra H. says:

    Welcome back Pastor Mark. Your words are very encouraging to me as I have to confess that one of my biggest spiritual vices is being a slave to my vacillating emotions. I tend to do things when I feel like doing them and that attitude has cost me a lot in virtually every aspect of my life. I used to be more responsible and care a lot more, but a series of inexplicably devastating events has left me struggling to trust God and thus shirking much of my duties as an act of rebellion and disobedience. May the Lord forgive me.

    Thank you again for keen insights. Even though there have been, and will be times when I disagree with your opinions or assessments of certain issues, this is not one of them.

    Tamra Higgs

  2. Peggy Greenwood says:

    Good luck with the book. Glad to have another entry from you. Thank you.

    I think duty is somewhat a generational trait. Those of us in the baby boomer era are products of the parents who went through the depression, WWII and the Korean War and Viet Nam. They were taught to view working and being a parent as a duty and they passed that view along to us, their children. In the 60’s, many of my generation tried drugs, free love and a new belief in themselves. Other of us were raising our children with our parents’ guidance and then working with the duty belief. Some of the children, like my son, took the view of his parents which was to get to work on time, do the best job possible and try to get ahead. Did he, and we, complain about workplace “perceived injustices.” Yes, but we tried to get beyond that and still do the job we were expected to do. The third present generation, the grandchildren, view a job as a way to have spending money and don’t necessarily adhere to the view of duty. Before I retired as administrative and office manager of a manufacturing plant, I saw only one out of five younger employees who found it important to be on time or stay til the set end of day time, put their all into their job or work without complaints. This is the generation of the me generation.
    My grandson is 18 and just starting working. I did not expect him to do well as he had a troubling past and had never worked before, but I have been surprised at how well he is doing in finding it important to be there and be counted on. I don’t know if it will continue for a long time, but I hope it will. I’m not sure he thinks it’s a duty rather than a job, but I think I’ll inject that into our calls and texts. Hope this is a cyclical thing that will swing back to duty and responsibility.

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