Tag Archives: Jim Bailey

“Duty”

The word duty has almost become a 4 letter word in our society today.  There are, no doubt, several reasons for this.  It could be because the words respect and authority are also on the downturn.  Perhaps it is due to the idea that obligation and burden are close synonyms of duty. One of the definitions of duty is a task that is expected, required or assigned.  This doesn’t seem to sit well with many adults if they never learned to respect and obey their parents, elders and superiors.  That is partly because many parents in our culture did not require, early and often, these qualities.

Anyone who has children can empathize with those who have the responsibility and burden of instilling this understanding of obligation, respect and duty in their children.  Surely we should cut people some slack when they have strong-willed kids.  This must have been especially tricky for Adam and Eve with Cain since they were the pioneers of parenthood.

God certainly gave His people both Israelites and Christians duties and burdens.  Solomon summarized it all by saying, “…Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” (Ecc 12:13)

At his trial before the Sanhedrin, Paul said, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.” (Acts 23:1)  This promptly earned him a slap on the mouth (V 2) which shows that duty to God doesn’t always carry weight with hypocrites.  Nevertheless, later Paul wrote Timothy to, “… discharge all the duties of your ministry” (2 Tim 4:5).  In the letter to the Galatians he urged them to, “…carry each other’s burdens…” (Gal 6:2).

Jesus knew that some burdens (duties) are almost too heavy to carry, like the ones the experts of the law loaded down on the people (Lk 11:46).  He also taught that Christians are to, “…deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Lk 9:23).  This would seem too difficult unless He also promised, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Mt 11:30)  Unfortunately, some Christians confuse hiatus with retirement and lay their burdens down soon after baptism.  Jesus and the Apostles stressed the importance of the work we are to carry out. (Jo 9:4) (Eph 2:10) (Eph 4:12) (Col 3:23) (1 Th 5:12)

                                                                       –Jim Bailey

“Longsuffering”

It may not take a village to raise a child, but it certainly helps when one’s neighbors are longsuffering.  With 4 active, curious and mischievous boys to deal with, our neighbors were truly patient and tolerant.  We thought little of cutting across their property to save a few steps or riding bikes in their driveways.  The man next door, Bill, was amazingly kind to us even though he was slowly losing his legs to diabetes.  He could have been a surly grouch, but he was just the opposite.  I am so sorry I never thanked them for their support.

Several verses in the Old Testament describe the Lord God as longsuffering (KJV) although other versions may use the term, “slow to anger” (NIV) (NAS) (Ex 34:6) (Nu 14:18) (Ps 86:15).  In the New Testament we are given the reasons for His patient endurance (longsuffering).  God’s kindness is to, “lead you to repentance” (Ro 2:4) (Ro 9:22).

Longsuffering is one of the Christian virtues mentioned by the Apostle Paul as fruit of the Spirit, and something for which we should strive (Gal 5:22) (Eph 4:2) (Col 1:11).  Jesus set forth a pattern of longsuffering for future believers (1 Tim 1:16).  Paul took on that challenge and charged Timothy to adopt it in his preaching (1 Tim 1:16) (2 Tim 4:2).

The Apostle Peter talks about the longsuffering of God so that people might repent during Noah’s preparation of the ark (1 Pe 3:20).  He also tells us that the Lord is still longsuffering with us today in hopes that no one will perish but come to repentance before the day of the Lord comes and the earth is burned up (2 Pe 3:9-12).  He explains that the longsuffering of the Lord is for salvation (2 Pe 3:15).  If then the Lord God is so kind, tolerant, patient and longsuffering towards mankind, (Jo 3:16) shouldn’t our attitude and conduct be the same towards all people? 

                                                                      –Jim Bailey