When my son was much younger, my wife and I had trouble getting him to eat his meals. My boy is quite the picky eater, and if you serve him food that he does not like he can sit for hours at time, just staring blankly at his plate. This used to be very frustrating for us, because we would cajole and beg, threaten and scream, just to make him eat. My wife would warm his food several times after it gets cold, and then the pleading and threatening would begin again. But as he grew older he started to develop a healthier appetite, and would gobble down his meal and hold up the empty plate to me proudly and say “daddy look, I finished my food!” I would smile and nod my head approvingly, as if he had just done me a huge favor. These days my boy will clear his food and take his plates into the kitchen before I even realized that food is ready, and I know that the time will come when I may even have to monitor the quantity of food he eats, to stop him from becoming obese. That’s the joy of parenthood, and all children go through these phases.
Last Saturday the country held its General Elections, and I noted with amusement many people proudly posting pictures of their ink-stained thumbs and forefingers online to show that they went out and exercised their civic duty. It reminds me of people who stroll proudly out of church after Sunday service, like they have just done God a huge favor by going to His house to worship Him. While I agree that going to church on Sunday fills one with a sense of accomplishment; just like going to the polls to cast our votes does, I need to remind us that going to church is not an act of charity…it is an act of obedience. When we do the right thing we are tempted to stop and look around us to see who is watching, and we expect to be congratulated for our efforts. But friend, serving God is for your benefit, not His. Voting in the elections is a duty to yourself and your nation that you must perform, and it does not stop there. You must monitor the outcome of the polls, and join other citizens to ensure that those who won the elections fulfill the promises they made in their campaign. We must hold our leaders accountable to their offices and encourage law enforcement officers to check the excesses of elected and appointed officials. We must pay our taxes and obey the laws of our constitution and make sure those who are in authority do the same. That is our duty as citizens, not just putting ink on ballot paper and declaring proudly that we have “done our duty”.
Similarly as Christians we must follow through on our Sunday worship: we must go back and search out the preacher’s words in scripture; we must put into practice the lessons we were taught from the pulpit, and flesh out the goodness of God. We must hold each other accountable to what we profess, and our lives must reflect the faith we claim. Our duty does not end with Sunday service, and unless we see our duty as 24/7, 365 requirements we are no more than an infant who eats his vegetables and expects ice cream as a reward. Spiritual and civic duty requires maturity, and only when we see ourselves as part of a team in search of progress, we cannot enjoy the best of God and State. So let us stop preening and start doing our duty to God and to each other. We have voted, and now we must follow through: just like we have worshipped in word, now we must worship in deed. There is no other way to secure the future, and I pray that God will help us carry out our duties to Him and to our nation to the fullest. Cheers!