In former days Christians spoke often of duty. Though they most certainly delighted in God and were eager to foster and increase that delight, they tended to do so by way of duty. They examined their lives to determine what duties God was calling them to and audited their lives to determine if they were fulfilling them. They longed to be dutiful in devotion, dutiful in obedience, dutiful in every responsibility and every role. They believed that from their duty would grow a deepening delight.
From these forebears you and I should learn the importance of living with care, living with consideration for every moment, every day, every season—with prayerful attentiveness to every duty. Therefore…
… Take care before you waste a moment, for every moment is sacred, given to you by God to be used for his purposes. Moments have often been sanctified to accomplish great things. It was in a moment that Rahab offered sanctuary to the Jewish spies, in a moment that Jesus gave sight to a man born blind, in a moment that Peter made the decision to visit Cornelius—and through him to take the gospel to all the Gentiles.
… Take care before you waste a day, for every day is sacred, given as a gift to be used to do good to others and bring glory to God. God sanctified days when he carried out his work of creation in six of them, when he set aside one of them to rest, when Jesus committed 40 of them to praying and fasting in the wilderness. Little do we know the value of a day and all that can be accomplished in it.
… Take care before you waste a season, for every season of life is sacred, a precious gift from God. Jesus sanctified seasons, for it was in the season of youthfulness that he diligently grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man and in the season of his public ministry that he fulfilled the law and was obedient unto death. It was in the season of his captivity that Paul penned his greatest epistles and in the season of his exile that John gave us his great revelation of Jesus Christ.
If you wish to live according to their example, you must be dutiful—dutiful in the small things as much as the big. Never leave undone for a moment the duty of that moment. Never leave undone for a day the duty of that day, or for a season the duty of that season. To do so is to risk wasting your entire life, for a lifetime is made up of seasons and seasons of days and days of moments. They ebb away like the tide that flows back from the beach, like the sun that sinks beyond the horizon until its last rays fade from the sky and all goes dark.
It is wise and good each morning to ask “What is my God-given duty in this day?” It is wise and good at each juncture to pray “God, help me to be dutiful in all that you call me to.” The one who thinks in this way, the one who prays in this way, the one who lives in this way, will live a life of duty, a life of significance, a life of great delight. The one who lives according to duty will most certainly hear the master’s commendation of “Well done, good and faithful—good and dutiful—servant.”