August 2013

IT'S SIMPLY MY DUTY

Father Vaclav Maly, hero of the "velvet revolution" that toppled the Communists in Czechoslovakia, had been stripped of his license to preach years earlier when he refused to swear allegiance to the state. He cleaned toilets in the subways during the day and conducted services in believers' homes at night. In the 1989 uprising, Maly walked through the
streets of Prague. A crowd of 800,000 gathered in Wenceslas Square to listen to him preach. The tanks were stopped; the Communists fled. “Long live Maly!" shouted the crowd. Maly became so popular that Vaclav Havel, the newly elected Czech president, offered him a position in government. But Maly said no. He wanted to return to his church so he could preach the gospel. As he was sitting at his kitchen table, which doubles as his desk, someone told him that he was a great hero for many in the West. He said "No! A hero is someone who does something that he is not required to do. I simply did my duty."

What a profound statement by a unique man of God- "I simply did my duty."  Nothing heroic about that, he did just what was expected of him. That reminds me of a passage of Scripture.  Luke 17:7-10 says, " "But which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, 'Come immediately and sit down to
eat'? (8) "But will he not say to him, 'Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me until I have eaten and drunk; and afterward you will eat and drink'? (9) "He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he? (10) "So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, 'We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.'"
Do you understand what Luke is saying?  All servants have simple duties that they are required to perform. When one is given a task, he or she is expected to do the task to the best of his or her abilities.

As servants of the King of kings, we also have responsibilities or “simple duties” that God expects us to do. Just as the servant should not expect the master to say "Come and eat" or to be thanked for a job he is responsible to do, likewise we should not be waiting for God to pat us on our back for something that is expected out of us. When we lose sight of our Biblical responsibilities, then all kinds of unhealthy attitudes and behavior emerge like: we don't do our best when authority is not around, we shift blame to others, we make up all kinds of excuses, we expect favors and hand outs, we become self-centered, and we become people pleasers rather than God pleasers.

Think about the tasks that you have to do today, and remember this simple statement- “It's simply my duty.” As a believer in Jesus Christ, “it is simply my duty” to:     speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15); not get angry (Eph 4:26); share my wealth with those who have need (Eph 4:28); be kind and forgiving to other believers (Eph 4:32); make good use of my time (Eph 5:16); worship together with other believers (Eph 5:19); give thanks for all things (Eph 5:20); love my wife (Eph 5:25); respect my husband (Eph 5:33); obey my parents (Eph 6:1); honor my father and mother (Eph 6:1); and work hard and be faithful at my job (Eph 6:5-9).

I can remember talking with my kids about their chores around the house. Like many fathers I said "If I do not go to work, then we would not be able to eat." That is my simple duty. I am not a hero for working. I do not expect my family to thank me every day when I come home from working. Because that is my responsibility! Today, there are many “simple duties” that need to be accomplished. Do them well, because of your relationship to Jesus Christ. Take the trash out without complaining, because “it is your simple duty.” Do the dishes without grumbling, because it is “your simple duty.” Finish your project with enthusiasm, because it is “your simple duty.” Go to work with a good attitude and smile, because it is “your simple duty.” Take the time to help a neighbor, because it is “your simple duty.” We are not called to be heroes, but to be men and women who “simply do their duty” to the glory of God.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                            -Pastor Mike Kotrla