Duty Or Devotion?

Are we to put duty before devotion? What does God yearn for most from us?

On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.
Boy Scout motto

 As the firstborn of five children and growing up in a far different environment than kids living today… I took my duty pretty seriously. I had chores to do, baby-sitting responsibilities, trying to live up to being a PK (preacher’s kid). Then I joined the Boy Scouts!

Standing with my peers, wearing my brown uniform and reciting in unison the Boy Scout motto, made me feel like I was about to being enlisted into the Ranger division at the nearest Army Base. I took these responsibilities very seriously.

However, duty took on an entirely different wrinkle as I began to pay attention to my spiritual duties. Several verses served as important waypoints.

“Fear God and keep his commandments,

for this is the duty of all mankind.”

Ecclesiastes 12:13 KJV


And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily,

as to the Lord, and not unto men;”  

Colossians 3:23 KJV

 We Christians, if conscientious, often fall into the trap of being dutiful to some things that God doesn’t require. By the time Jesus arrived in Israel, the Jewish leaders had taken God’s original Ten Commandments and exploded them into hundreds of impossible-to-fulfill rules and intricate duties. In one of Jesus’ most controversial responses when asked which one of the original laws was the most important, He replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.” Then added, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37 NLT

 God spoke strongly to Old Testament religious people who did a lot of religious things, but missed things really important to God. “Meetings for this, meetings for that. I hate them! You’ve worn me out! I’m sick of your religion, religion, religion, while you go right on sinning.” Isaiah 1:14 MSG

Make sure that in your attention to duty, you give Him what He really wants.

“I don’t want your sacrifices—I want your love;

I don’t want your offerings—I want you to know me.”

Hosea 6:6 TLB

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