When did duty, responsibility, obligation, and commitment become bad words in our culture? I asked that question on Sunday. For many people, they are bad words. They speak about things we don’t want to do. They talk about things we would prefer to avoid. And they describe what has gone wrong with our culture.
What’s gone wrong? Too many of us neglect our duty, avoid being responsible, renege on obligations, and don’t care about commitments. And when that happens, others suffer.
How can a society ever survive with such thinking? With such behaving? How can a marriage or a family survive? Answer: They can’t.
Christianity does not eliminate duty, responsibility, obligation, and commitment. Christianity transforms them. It does so with love, with grace, and with power.
Duty apart from love becomes drudgery. And we all know what happens soon after that. Too much drudgery and we just stop doing it. Raising kids without love is drudgery. Being married without love is drudgery. Working at your job without love is drudgery. Whenever you are compelled to do your duty, you won’t do it very well.
But, when duty (even difficult and challenging duty) is filled with love, it becomes your delight. It no longer feels like a duty. You are not doing it because you have to, you are doing it because you want to. It is your desire to do it. It is your joy to do it. It is your delight to do it.
Grace means you are grateful for the opportunity to do your duty. Apart from grace, we will grumble.
Grace means you celebrate the commitments you make. Apart from grace, you will complain about them.
Peter Drucker said, “Never mind your happiness. Do your duty.” Drucker knew that when we do our duty (with love) then we, as well as many others, are happiest.
That’s what the grace of God and the love of Jesus do. They fill everything else and make it good. The grace of God empowers you to do what is right, fulfill your responsibilities, keep your commitments, and discover that all obligations have become opportunities to honor God and bless the world. Grace and love are some of the good things of God running wild in the world.
I for one am very grateful for all the people who do their duty, who are faithfully responsible for what has been entrusted to them, and who stay the course in their commitments.
May you and I be filled with such love and grace that we become people who do just that. And may the world around you flourish as you do.
P.S. And here is one final encouragement from one of our nation’s greatest leaders.