Biblical Obligation & Duty
What comes to your mind when you think about Obligation & Duty? The Armed Services? Public Service? Family? Your belief system? What you stand for?
How do you shape your view of obligation & duty? For most men that list of answers includes - but does not start with - God's word. Here is what He teaches us through His inspired word. It may be important to build a foundation of what these two words are defined to mean.
Obligation -- an act or course of action to which a person is morally or legally bound; a duty or commitment.
Duty -- a moral or legal obligation; a responsibility.
So there you have it. They more or less mean the same thing. Now we have something to operate on.
From the Source...
"Listen, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength." NASB, Deuteronomy 6:4 & 5
These words should be familiar! This is what Jesus, the Christ recited when He was asked about the most important commandment in the New Testament. In fact, you already know He said it was one of the two most important commandments that God taught the Prophets. I say 'taught' but Jesus said God 'demanded' it of the prophets in the NASB translation (Matthew 22:40).
This is the first verse that God shares with His people through Moses. This would stand to the test of logic and reason, even without the Christ saying so, that this is the most important obligation or duty. From this, the rest of the 'laws' are written. What that means is when you are upholding a personal love for the Lord you are doing well enough to uphold the rest of the laws.
[Jesus:] “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” NASB, Matthew 7:12
This is a summary of what we are morally committed (obligated) to do. This is the summary Jesus offers to us after teaching that giving is an important piece of the puzzle. Do not go about hoarding what you have because that will not be with you when you leave earth. Sure, you can leave it as part of your legacy and that is pretty noble. Of course, you should love others like you would hope someone would love you. That is what Jesus, the Christ is teaching us to do here.
If you were in need you would definitely hope that someone would be able to provide you with something. Here is where it appears to be lost in translation, however. God did not teach you to go and support complete strangers absolutely. He taught that giving as a community a small bit of what you have so others are not in need as a community is enough. He gave some examples, like giving one of the two shirts you have to someone that needs a shirt. Giving help when you can like you saw in the parable of the good Samaritan.
Churches and Christian organizations give to those in need, but they rarely go out and buy anything to give. They give what is given to them That is the direct result of this responsibility (duty) Jesus is talking about in Matthew 7:12. You did not provide an entire outfit, an entire meal, a shower, or entire building by yourself. You contributed to a community pot that provides all of those things collectively. That is the kind of giving you can do that is also quite wise. Read Proverbs if you would like some more wisdom.
God Definitely Sees When You Do It
[Jesus:] “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’” NASB, Matthew 25: 34-40
There it is. God is the King when He is your first love. When God is the King of your life and you love Him first, you will then love others and He will see it. He teaches us through His Son, our Christ, King, our LORD, Jesus right there in Matthew 25:34-40.
God created Heaven for us. For the 'we' that love Him first. For the 'we' that do unto others as we would like done to us. For the 'we' that give of ourselves to help our community. Do you know who else is part of the 'we'? All people. God claims all people as His. If you would like to know where He says it...
"God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." NASB, Genesis 1:27 & "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad." NASB, 2 Corinthians 5:10
Love God first. Love others. Why? Because God is with the least of us, the others, the needing, and He is in the community. This is our obligation & duty.