Duty or Delight
Duty or Delight
"The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” (Frederick Buechner)
We were recently touring a college campus and one of the professors mentioned this quote in reference to students finding their calling or vocation. The quote struck me because of its two-fold message about our service to God.
First is the message that our calling should bring us gladness. During our quarantine family devotionals, this idea has come up several times. We talked about how doing things merely out of a sense of duty is not enough. What do we do if our service to God and others is no longer filled with joy? Often, we look inwardly when that happens and try to motivate ourselves out of guilt and a sense of obligation. Although this can help us get through a difficult patch, when we find our motivation waning, it cannot see us through the marathon of a life devoted to Christ. If we are going to continue to serve out of joy, sometimes it may require us to find another way to serve. There is no shame in this because there are so many different ways, we can serve our God. If you haven’t found a way to serve that gives you joy or if you are struggling to find the joy in a service you have been performing for years then look for a new way to serve.
Second is the message that our calling is not self-serving; where our joy is the end goal. Our Lord calls us to be like Him in this life by serving rather than being served (Matthew 10:24-28). Just as Christ addressed the physical and spiritual needs of the world in the first century, we are called to address the needs of the world in the twenty-first century.
Times and methods may change but this message predates even the first century. As the writer of Psalm 100 noted to the children of Israel, they were to “Serve the Lord with gladness.” So, it remains the same today thousands of years later. What is so awesome about the quote inspiring this is that by finding the intersection of our joy and the world’s need we can serve God, fill a need of the world and satisfy one of our great needs at the same time. One of our great needs is a sense of purpose in this world. What many never learn is that purpose and meaning in this life come from serving others rather than themselves.
Perhaps you have never found this intersection of gladness and need, or maybe it is something you had but have lost. Keep looking and do not lose hope because there are innumerable good works for us to do to God’s glory (Ephesians 2:10). It is great to know that purpose in this life is not a question of duty versus delight because we can have both.