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Monday, January 7, 2013

The Inspiration of Duty

I slept and dreamed that life was Beauty;

I woke and found that life was Duty! 
Author unknown

Our age is the age of SELF. We unflinchingly proclaim it in bold letters on billboards and on magazine covers and declare it vociferously from podiums and pulpits too. It's the same dribble that we find saturating every talk-show on each and every television station.

The word "duty" has been demoted to a chest of relics of times past; one in which sentries died at their posts. These days we always stop and ask, "What will this do for me?" before we proceed with anything. In fact, self-seeking has become so rampant these days that anyone who offers help without expectation of pay or any other benefit is either thought to be mentally ill or mentally challenged. 

Irena Sendler 1943
Irena Sendler clearly was not an opportunistic woman. She continually risked her life during the horrible years of the Nazi occupation of Poland to save 2,500 babies and children, and when found out was tortured, her legs and feet were cruelly broken by her interrogators. Yet, she did not seek recognition. As a matter of fact, this heroine went widely unnoticed until the year 2000. For many years after the War she was persecuted in her own country by the communists for cooperating with the Polish government during its period of exile.

When she was interviewed as an elderly woman, she did not wonder why no one had acknowledged her, honored her, or offered her any material reward for her sacrifices. Her greatest concern was that she could have done more; can you imagine that?

In our home we have never offered monetary reward to our children for doing their chores, no, not even for "special projects." We all pitch in, and we all contribute, because taking care of each other is our duty

Duty is so much higher than glory, and so much more inspiring, that victories hang upon it.
William M. Thayer

We train school children to expect to be recognized for the slightest effort. Janet receives a certificate of achievement for saying her "ABC's," for memorizing her multiplication facts, or for cleaning the whiteboard. Does anyone stop long enough to explain to Janet that each task, well-done, contains a joy all its own? Would anyone dare suggest that she clean the class whiteboards simply because it is the right thing to do?

What are we expecting when we appear before God--a standing ovation? When asked about meeting his reward in heaven, an old Jewish rabbi once remarked, "God will say to me, 'Were you good to your wife,' and I will reply, 'yes.' Then He will say, 'Were you a good father,' and I will say, 'Yes.' Next He will ask me, 'Were you good to your fellow-man,' to which I will reply, 'You, Lord God, know everything, and you know that I was!' to which He will reply, 'Good, then you did what you were supposed to do!' and that will be that!"

Sherry Hayes
Raising good daughters today means that we must learn to back away from the "diva" and "prima dona" mentalities. Nothing is owed us, everything is expected. It should never be a matter of what we can get, but what we can give, always keeping in mind that we would never be able to do anything good apart from the grace of our Lord Jesus!

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
(Hebrews 12:2)


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