Thursday, 2 October 2014


Two soldiersF.W. Boreham writes in The Drums Of Dawn of two soldiers both offered inducements to betray their country. The first one considers the bribe then concludes that it is not worth it. His sense of duty toward his country prevailed. The second soldier is offered the same bribe and doesn't even consider it. His loyalty to his country is not founded merely on a sense of duty - but on a love for his beloved homeland. He delighted in his nation and was therefore unhesitatingly dutiful. Jesus also told stories contrasting how we can relate to the Father with either a cold sense of duty or a flaming sense of delight. Why do you go to church when you do?

A dutiful puppy awaits its master"In the thirteenth chapter of his Ecce Homo, Sir J. R. Seeley draws a striking contrast between two men. Both are patriots; but one is passionate, while the other is merely a languid, patriot. Each is offered a bribe to betray his country. Both eventually decline it. The languid patriot refuses the bribe after a terrible inward struggle, his fingers itching to grasp the proffered gold. But, in the case of the passionate patriot, there is no struggle at all. He feels that the offer is an insult: he rejects it instantly and with scorn. The difference between the two men, Sir J. R. Seeley points out, is that, whilst the languid patriot is incapable of crime, the passionate patriot is incapable of temptation." (F.W. Boreham, "The Drums of Dawn", 'Remember Lot's Wife', page 205)

Did Jesus fulfil His mission out of duty or delight? The Psalmist foresaw Christ's mission and prophesied of Him-
"I delight to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart."

Psalm 40:8
The difference between duty and delight is largely one of motive. Christ's motive for His mission was not primarily about those He was redeeming - it was based on His utter love and devotion for His Father. In one respect, Jesus has never heard the Father command Him to do anything - even though the Father sent Him to redeem the world. What Jesus heard was an opportunity to delight His Father! 

The contrast between duty and delight features in several of Christ's stories. The best known of these is the story of the Prodigal's son in Luke 15. We are presented with two brothers. The younger brother refuses to continue to be dutiful. He demands his share of the inheritance from his father and takes off. He is neither dutiful nor delightful toward his father. Meanwhile, his dutiful older brother is still carrying on his work. When his younger brother returns from squandering his inheritance and the father throws a feast to celebrate, the older son is outraged. He bases his outrage on duty.
But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, 'Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends.
Luke 15:28-29
If we were to sum up how the father replied to his dutiful older son we might say that he revealed his desire for his son to delight in being with and serving him - not merely serving him out of a sense of gain or duty. I wonder how many people the Father longs to reveal this same truth to today? The Apostle Paul told the Romans to do church with delight not just mere duty when he wrote in Romans 12:11 ~ Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. He said the same thing to the Ephesians with different words -
from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
Ephesians 4:16
When we consider how the Lord might want us to reach out to others and see our church grow, we will soon realise that it will involve us showing our delight for our Lord by applying the Apostle Paul's injunctions to show fervour, zeal, and love - not because we are like dutiful older brothers, nay, but because we are glad, reinstated, children of our limitless powerful and infinitely lovely Heavenly Father and we want to bring Him pleasure. 
And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.
Titus 3:14
I have seen delight. My family and I had been traipsing across the USA and Canada throughout November 2013. After 30 speaking engagements in churches, seminars, and think-tanks, we had the privilege of just attending a church for our final Sunday in the USA. When we pulled into James River Church in Springfield Missouri it was minus 10 degrees centigrade. But as we did so we were greeted by a young lady serving as a car park director. She was smiling, waving enthusiastically to incoming drivers, and dancing. Dancing! As she directed incoming cars she smiled, waved and danced - and not just when people were looking. She was delighted to be serving the Lord in the car park!
As we walked across the car park to the church sanctuary I walked to this young lady and admiringly said, "You look like you're enjoying yourself!" She responded, "Oh, I am!" That day, despite being told that  Pastor John Lindell was a great preacher (and I'm sure he probably is), he had been supremely trumped by this young lady's exposition of the Biblical word: delight!

Of course, the power of delight is not just a principle for being a fully devoted mature follower of Christ, it is the key ingredient to success in any field. It is variously called, passionenjoymententhusiasmdrive. But it is especially true for any church to grow! When we don't delight in our God and yet serve Him, we do so out of duty. Duty has a lot to say for it, but when delight enters the room which duty occupies, it is duty that is excused to leave the room. And when it does, no one notices because they are preoccupied with delight. This Sunday, may we delight in God by delighting in what He delights in and serve Him delightfully.
¶ ... as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
Ephesians 5:25 
Not because we have to, but because we want to. That's delight compared with duty. That's the deal church.

Ps. Andrew

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