Outfield is one of those positions that needs to be filled but no one wants to do except people with amazing throwing arms and running skills who rarely like to use them. So, my son and his teammates generally frown in the outfield. Most grownups never outgrow this. There are things that need to be done, like chores and garbage duty and talking nice to people who are not nice and smiling when you want to frown. There are things we who love God have to do because He gave us gifts and talents for a reason and things need done. So sometimes we all have to buck up and just do it. That being said, if you are no good at it, maybe let someone else try. Lol 🙂
When there is service without love, it is duty. With duty (aka obligation) , you can get burnt out in time, drained of energy and deflated. When there is love without service, you get a wishy washy roller coaster of emotions. For things to really work well, there is love and service combined. I love my country and serve. This is highly commendable to everyone but the bad guys. I and my husband love and serve each other and that makes for a fantastic marriage. When one side loves and serves and that is not reciprocated, the love is being withdrawn but not replenished and eventually fades to duty. Now, this is where divorce happens OR God can step into the scene when invited and fill the love back up so the person can have peace in the eyes of the storm of neglect. This can happen as one of the less painful scenarios. However, that is here nor there. My focus is on love vs. duty, so let me get back to it. I believe that as followers of the way of Love, we should check ourselves if we find duty replacing loving service because it usually means we screwed up in our walk somewhere. Either we lost touch with our prayer life, we’ve not been reading our Bibles or we’ve lost focus or we’ve become proud or self absorbed to where love isn’t being renewed consistently by Love. If we are in abusive situations we should remove ourselves from harm (that is another matter). However, loved back or not, we serve the Lord with some of the love back that He gives us all the time. We are always love serving Him and He is who we are always serving. Maybe a not to ourselves saying “You are working for God all day today” will help focus us first thing in the morning or throughout the day. Whatever we do, we work for God all the time and serve Him. If we serve out of duty, we have started thinking of who we are working for in human form, leading to tit for tat or comparisons or jealousy or demands for reciprocation, etc. If we can wrap our heads around the fact that whatever we do, we are working for God, we can maybe take the time to give our Boss our attention and make His agenda our priority. Just a thought.
I touched on this in my Facebook prayer group and wanted to expound on it. When children pray, their faith and purity of heart and humbleness of spirit allows God to answer the prayers. Also, when children pray, they discover much more about Who they are praying to rather than just reading about Him in His Word (also an amazing habit to teach your children). What I had mentioned in the prayer group was that children’s earnestness and faith is what we are called to exemplify and we can see God answer the petition prayers of a child because their faith is so big. When given an understanding of the need at their age level of readiness, a child will teach you how to pray. And if you make sure you pay attention and point out when and how God answers them (because He always does), you can build the foundation of consistent/sustained faith in God as they grow up even when their faith in humans gives out. Jesus Christ said to let the children come to Him. I have seen many many parents or grown ups have a kid be quiet and listen only or not even be there when prayers are said. That doesn’t match up properly with the teaching that Jesus loves it when children talk to Him and that He loves them. How can He love to hear from them and then not want t to hear from them? Silly, right? So, let your children pray with you, esp. when you want results because their faith can carry yours when it isn’t working properly for some reason. And hearing children pray lifts the heart and soul. I believe it is a beautiful actor worship to the Lord. It shows children the importance of God in our lives, prayer consistently, communication, service to God and others, humility (everyone needs help) and quality time with the Lord. I believe this is vital to raising up a few generation that is others minded as opposed to narcissistic. This is also our duty and privilege to bless our children with this teaching on prayer and faithfulness/consistency.
Watching a PBS show with my husband, I was struck with a thought. They were speaking of a history of very harsh coastal conditions off the coast of North Carolina that beached many a sailing vessel over the years. Then they mentioned the coastal rescue men and how they were “duty bound” to go out every time and rescue those they could, though it was often at great peril to themselves. I thought about that, how people took their work seriously back then and had a work ethic of doing the best they could at their jobs, no matter how seemingly insignificant the job. That is actually a Biblical principle, that of working with all your heart as if working for the Lord and not men because it is really God that we work for and not for men. And then I thought about some of the register workers recently that I’ve experienced that I had to interrupt their phone conversation to pay for my items. And I thought of the hospital workers at my dad’s hospital now and how I have to alert them and then remind them to do something important for my dad that should have been checked. Then I thought of the store workers I recently encountered that were more interested in telling me their problems than doing their job. And it struck me that the epidemic of leaving the Lord out of American public life has depleted the work ethic and sense of duty that made America such a great place. If you ask someone to do something they don’t want to do, some people quit or at least complain that they are being I’ll used, though they are being paid to do work not just socialize or play games on Facebook or their phone. And I remember how hard it was to hire help when I had my Audiology practice. The really good worker I had was an older lady and she was wonderful. The college students felt themselves misused if I asked them to do more than the minimum requirement of their hired position. So, what I suggest is that we Christ followers actually make it a point to work as if working for the Lord and not for men because we are really serving Him. Maybe we would stand out enough to be a light set on a hill or salt for the world wherever we are. Maybe we would inspire others to do the same?
I have written a lot and still do write songs. I used to wonder why God gave me so many songs with no contact to publish them or get them out to the world except the few places I’ve attended church. I used to want the world to hear my songs and use them to worship God or mean something to them or help them. I used to want to tour the world and sing my songs to help other people who have been through similar problems or who need to worship God with a new song or voice. This was my passion for many years. Now, as an old lady (39 really), married with kids, I realize something. God gave me those songs as a gift for me and my worship and growth. If people want to share them, great. But we are told to “Sing to the Lord a new song.” So, we all are supposed to be worshiping God the way He gives us to do it. It is life-giving. It is instructional. It is our duty. It is amazing. Write them down if you can to remember God’s play on your life just then. If you’re driving down the road and can’t write them, sing them out unabashed because you are given them. We all have a song to sing and we all have one God to whom all songs belong.