once in a while I will do something kind for another person totally motivated by a deep sense of compassion for them. But most of the time I will do something kind, something that meets a real need and is timely, because it is the right thing to do. I will do it because it is my duty. I will do it because I am very sure it is what God wants me to do. But I don’t really want to do it, I don’t feel like doing it, and it wouldn’t take much of a lapse in self control to just ignore the situation and forget it. So if I do a kind deed for someone out of a sense of duty is it as “good” as a deed done from a strong inner sense of compassion or even love? What if I make a commitment in my mind to tell Patty my wife 5 times a day that I love her because I know she likes it, not because I have any strong sense of romantic love towards her. I would define my use of the word love as a strong commitment to faithfulness and to do whatever I could to make her happy, as her husband that would be my duty.
I was mulling this over in my mind the other day as I was thinking about a discussion with a lady who was at our recent seminar. She asked me a question about my motivation to do the seminar. I told her that I had identified 4 major motivators in my life, 1st level is fear of loss, 2nd level is hope of reward, 3rd level is love of person, and the highest or most Nobel of motivators was duty. Her response was that she thought duty should be just above fear of loss. I didn’t argue with her.
It didn’t really matter to me if she thought I was right, but as I was mulling this over in my mind, I thought, “it is important that I think I am right”! As I reflected about this I came to this conclusion, “a man who does what he does because it is right, because it is his duty, because it is what God wants will be faithful day in and day out, good days and bad days, because duty rises above circumstances and emotions.