19 February 2006

…On recognizing and responding to duty

Duty is a term often associated with military service. But it has much broader application. It applies to citizens of a country. It applies to members of a family. It applies to those in a church body. Duty recognizes obligation and puts others or another before self. As such, fulfilling duty has moral implications. The 19th century British historian Lord John Acton wrote that moral foundations of society are not the satisfying of appetites but the fulfillment of duties. In the working out of our faith, too often we concern ourselves more with the satisfaction of our appetites—appetites for success, for personal fulfillment, for comfort, for happiness, for acceptance or for popularity. But Christ calls us to the fulfillment of duty—to “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.” That admonition refers to duty—the duty of one in submission to our Lord. And a duty that is ever mindful of a transcendent God. Reading history and biography can help take our eyes off ourselves, sharpen our senses toward duty and expose our tendency to put first the satisfaction of our appetites. Let us cultivate a sense of duty—duty to others and ultimately to our Lord. To help that cultivation, let us take up and read!