is it Duty or Delight?
The Bible offers several motivations for our service. We want to serve God because “we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken” (Hebrews 12:28), because our service supplies “the needs of the Lord’s people” (2 Corinthians 9:12), because our service proves our faith and causes others to praise God (2 Corinthians 9:13), and because God sees and rewards our labor of love (Hebrews 6:10). Each of these is a good reason to serve God.
As I write this epistle, I am reminded of my childhood when people would see my brothers and me and say, “You guys look so much like your father.” I was filled with pride. He was a Marine, a Police Officer, and a strong father figure who, like us all, had his faults. Yet, I was still filled with pride when compared to him. At this point, you should know where I’m going with this story. God sees us through his Son, Jesus Christ. We strive to look and be like our father who we want to please in our words and deeds. It is easy to grow tired and weary in a world filled with so much contrary noise. We have only to look back at the world Jesus grew up in and understand the noise of his day was just as great. He never stopped looking like his father and God was delighted in, was well-pleased with, or filled with great joy, depending on the translation you read, in his son.
As a young child, making friends and meeting children my age, I discovered kids received something called allowance. When I inquired as to why they were getting paid by their parents, they replied, “it's not a payment, it’s a gift for being children.” My immediate reaction was I needed to talk to my parents about this gift. I knew my parents practiced biblical truths, like “spare the rod, spoil the child.” The not-so-biblical saying was practiced that children should be seen and not heard. This new one was a revelation. Dinner would be the best time because my four older brothers would be there for support. I initiated the conversation after we said grace. “Dad, I was talking to David today and he told me that they, he and his brothers, received 5 dollars a week as an allowance.” I knew something was wrong when all of my brothers broke into a period of laughter. It was one of the only times my father ‘quoted’ the bible, he began, Jesus said why should you be paid for what is already required and expected from you? He then explained that if David’s family had an extra bedroom, I might be able to receive allowance there. Point taken, I never brought up allowance again, but I did learn a work ethic. The point of this long-winded explanation is to say, in the kingdom we are expected to do those things which show us to be believers and give God glory.
We often associate duty and service interchangeably but how we feel about performing that duty and service is as important as its application. Do I serve God out of obligation or for the joy contained in the within and through the service? We are told in1 Peter 4:10-11: “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.” I love serving God and the acts of kindness I can be a small part of each day. It gives me joy and I feel the delight I believe God experiences through these ministries. I am reminded of a line from a movie, ‘Chariots of Fire’, the character Eric Liddell when questioned why he missed a church event, states, “I believe that God made me for a purpose. But he also made me fast, and when I run, I feel His pleasure.” For his Delight, EUDOKEO, may we all run.
Thought for the Month: There is a familiar story about a little girl who went to Sunday School and heard the story of Enoch. She went home and told her mother, “You know, Mother, he used to go for walks with God.” The mother replied, “That’s wonderful, dear. How did it end?” “Well, Mother, one day they walked on and on, and got so far that God said to Enoch, ‘You’re a long way from home. You had better come in and stay with Me!’”
If you walk with God by faith, your life is pleasing to Him. Even if you go through horrible trials, you can trust that He is with you. One day, He will say to you, “You’re a long way from home. You had better come in and stay with Me!”