Thursday, March 22, 2007

Duty


Good day…or evening, or whenever you find yourself reading this. In my corner of the world rain is falling and giving nourishment to the plant life that has been dormant for a while and is now anxious to awaken and bloom. Springtime is an amazing reminder to me of the wonder of life and the process of growth. I hope you find yourself growing.

I’m thinking today of the word “duty”. It gets thrown around a lot and refers to one’s obligation to do something. I have to admit to you that I’m not a fan of obligation. For me it seems to have a thread of guilt that runs through it, but that’s just me. I’m more a fan of passion. I believe it’s a much better motivation than obligation for anything. I believe that with obligation there is a limit to how much or how far we’ll go, but passion knows no limits. May I illustrate?

I know a man whose marriage was falling apart and in the course of our conversations he shared that he and his wife had not been intimate for nearly a year. In counseling that followed, he shared that his wife decided that a physical relationship was part of her “wifely duties” and decided to resume that aspect of their marriage. A few weeks later though, he shared that while the physical aspect may have returned, the intimacy was gone. He readily admits his part in the demise of his marriage but admits that he’d rather not have physical intimacy if his wife feels like she’s forced to do it.

Obligation can only lead to a mechanical response that, before long, becomes a drag to us. Only those things that are born out of a love and passion for something or someone can be sustained and moreover, be felt to be sincere. Trust me; we aren’t the only ones that notice when our hearts just aren’t in something.

Passion, or love (for me the words are really interchangeable) is an entirely different animal though. Physical intimacy in a relationship should be born from a deep and abiding love between two people who are totally committed to one another. If it’s not, it becomes something else entirely, or it becomes nothing at all. There is an end to obligation, it is a finite proposition. Passion won’t give up, love won’t quit.

Jesus wasn’t obligated to die for us. God didn’t have to reconcile our broken relationship, but His love for us motivated Him to. If you serve Him or others out of obligation or a sense of duty, the message you take to the world is one of a god who makes demands on you instead of loves you. But when you serve Him and others out of your love for Him, others notice and you won’t grow weary of it.

Perhaps today you will begin to think of the word “duty” as I do…another four letter word that really isn’t appropriate in my vocabulary.


Peace……

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