Read: Ecclesiastes 12:13 |
When George Washington was about 20 years old, he wrote this in his prayer journal:
“O most Glorious God, in Jesus Christ my merciful and loving father, I acknowledge and confess my guilt, in the weak and imperfect performance of the duties of this day. I have called on thee for pardon and forgiveness of sins, but so coldly and carelessly, that my prayers are become my sin and stand in need of pardon. I have heard thy holy word, but with such deadness of spirit that I have been an unprofitable and forgetful hearer, so that, O Lord, tho’ I have done thy work, yet it hath been so negligently that I may rather expect a curse than a blessing from thee.”
[“George Washington, the Christian” by William J. Johnson (New York: The Abingdon Press, New York & Cincinnati, 1919), pp. 24-35.]
It is our spiritual duty to pay respect, reverence and homage to the debt that Jesus Christ paid at the cross for each of us. In the excerpt from George Washington’s prayer journal, we find that the burden of his spiritual duty to God weighed on his conscious. In fact, his sense of duty to God superseded all of his other responsibilities.
This week, we will examine how our sense of duty to the Lord can motivate us to serve God.
Duty leads to Action
In the New Testament, we can find the story of Saul who as a Pharisee, dutifully followed the Law of Moses. He believed that Jesus and his followers were blasphemous, by claiming that Jesus was the Son of God! Based on the Law of Moses, blasphemy was punishable by death. [Leviticus 24:16] Subsequently, he led the charge to pursue and eradicate followers of Jesus. [Acts 8:3].
On the Damascus Road, God intervened. Blinded by light, Saul gave his heart to God. From that point forward, he abruptly turned from zealous persecutor of Christians to one of Christianity’s greatest proponents. His renewed sense of duty to the Lord God shaped the history of the early Christian church.
Our sense of duty begins in our hearts; it requires that we surrender our will for it to take root. By submitting to God, our sense of duty to God begins to spread into every corner of our lives and flourishes. By acting on our sense of duty, we give back to God a worthy offering.
Let’s face it though, many believer’s sense of duty to God wavers. In fact, to some believers, maintaining a sense of spiritual duty does not matter very much. Most likely the disconnect begins in their hearts. To guard against this, strive to stand firm with God and to serve Him in season and out of season, for in due time, we shall receive a blessing. [I Corinthians 15:58]
Duty requires Diligence
Nehemiah exhibited a strong sense of duty. He diligently practiced his faith even though he was a captive in a foreign land. God rewarded his faithfulness. In fact, through God, the King gave him all of the materials to rebuild the temple and provided safe passage home.
The prophet Jonah provides a different example. Jonah, as you may recall, was too proud and stubborn to follow through on his duty to warn the Ninevites as God had directed him. He refused to do his duty. He was unwilling to follow God’s will until he had a come-to-God moment in the belly of the great fish that swallowed him. [Jonah 1:17]
In our lives, we too are called to be dutiful in our service and fulfill God’s plans for our lives. All of us may not react like Nehemiah due to our Jonah-like tendencies. Yet, we each can press on toward God’s call for our lives.
Our motivation to serve God will never be limited only to our duty to God, but duty will be one of the many motivators that keep us striving to serve God more faithfully.
Series Outline with links:
1. Reward – Serve Him for the reward of His fellowship and presence in your life
2. Fear – Serve Him with a reverent fear and respect for His power, presence and protection
3. Duty – Serve Him dutifully; we are called to serve Him
4. Love – Serve with all your heart, soul and mind
5. Joy – Serve Him joyfully; the joy of the Lord is our strength
1. Temptation and Sin – Cannot serve Him because I’m not “holy” enough
2. Burn-out Part 1 – Cannot serve Him because I’ve lost motivation and energy
3. Burn-out Part 2 – Cannot serve Him because I need to refuel and reload
4. Rationalization – Future – Cannot serve Him because I don’t have the time, talent, treasure necessary
5. Procrastination – Future – Cannot serve Him because I’m not able to find the right opportunity and follow through
1. Discover –
A. In your personal list of things that motivate you to serve God, does your duty to God motivate you the most or the least?
B. For each of your God-given talents, gifts, abilities, and skills do you use these for the glory of God?
2. Develop –
A. Jonah shirked his duty to follow God until God sent the whale. Can you share an example of a time when you tried to side-step your duty, but God brought you back to your senses?
B. When you fail to obey a duty God has laid on you, is the result guilt like George Washington experienced? What do you about this?
3. Demonstrate –
A. Ask your prayer partner or spouse if your life exhibits a testimony of a life filled dutifully following Christ? Based on the answer, can you do more to improve your witness?