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Acts of Duty vs Acts of Love

Updated: Sep 29, 2020

Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily from the soul, as something done for the Lord and not for men. (Col. 3:23)

Most Christians know this verse very well (and if you're not of the Christian faith the words are self explanatory.) As kids, whenever our parents wanted or instructed us to do something we reaaaaaaaally didn’t feel like doing, we were reminded of this scripture - that we were not doing it for them, but for the Lord. Which basically meant that whatever argument you came up with was null and void. Sigh. Which also meant that you would do whatever you were instructed to do (you had no choice after all, as you were certain to lose your argument against God), but you would do it out of duty and not out of love. And sometimes even begrudgingly so. I have a sneaky suspicion though, that my parents didn’t give a damn what my motivation was, as long as the dishes were washed and the dog poop picked up!

As adults, doing things out of love or out of duty have a huge impact on our general outlook on life and the way we feel inside. Or should I rather say our general outlook on life and the way we feel inside determine whether we do things out of love or out of duty? I can assure you that I do the laundry and house cleaning purely out of duty. It would have been nice to tell you that I love my husband so much that I just loooooove doing dishes and laundry and mop floors, and that I do it with a song in my heart. But I would be lying. The truth is that I do those things mostly as acts of duty, and very seldom as acts of love. The same goes for cooking and serving his food every night for example. I would love to say that I make him food every single night and serve said food out of the goodness of my pure heart and because I am filled with love for him. But again, I would be lying if I say that. Sometimes it’s true, but more often than not cooking and serving dinner is a hell of a duty to me and love has got absolutely nothing to do with it like Tina Turner says. I’m sure he feels the same about my cup of coffee that he dutifully makes every single morning of his life! It’s not love, it’s WORK and sometimes it’s hard, especially when you have had a long day working your butt off.

What gets to me is that this same attitude/mindset problem presents itself when I walk into our home office (the place where I work said butt off every day). Again, do I do the filing, invoicing, reconciliation, website management, marketing and branding and, and, and, as acts of duty, or acts of love? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist with a heart full of love to figure out that it’s duty, duty and more duty that ensures that all these things get done.

So, I’m wondering if perhaps we need a full-time maid that cooks and cleans as well as an office person to take most of my ‘duties’ away? Will that change my attitude? I have a sneaky suspicion it won’t. The only thing/person that can change my attitude is something deep inside of me. To change my mindset from an ‘acts of duty’ mindset to an ‘acts of love’ mindset. And whether you believe in God or not, I think it makes it easier (and much more noble!) to do mundane things that you secretly hate doing for a higher purpose. (It also helps with not wanting to kill your husband with a mop when he doesn’t do dishes or throws laundry in the basket like he’s Michael Jordan and there’s no end to the supply of T-shirts to do so.)

So, if you are like me, and you battle to do things you really don’t like doing, why not join me in trying to change acts of duty into acts of love? I’m not promising anything, but I’m sure going to try. So, I will be doing the next load of washing with love, because I am grateful that I have clothes to wear. I will be grateful that my husband looks neat and clean when he leaves the house to represent ‘us’ because I went through the trouble of washing his clothes. I will try to smile (instead of swear) when I see the sink filled with things I didn’t use. And tonight, when I prepare dinner and serve it to him, I will try to do so lovingly and not dutifully. I will also remind myself of the millions of people who do not have food to eat or the luxury of choosing supper and enjoying it in a warm, safe house. In short, I will try to have an attitude of gratitude. I will truly try to turn acts of duty into acts of love.

Are you joining me?

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