The Greater Duty

Dear Power Writers, 

As I was reading in Matthew 12 yesterday morning, I saw a truth I’d never seen before. Jesus was busy preaching when his mother and brothers, who were standing outside, asked to speak with Him. Instead of excusing Himself to determine what they wanted, Jesus made an unusual comment: “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Then, pointing to His disciples, He said, “Look, here are my mother and my brothers. Whoever does what my Father in heaven wants is my brother and sister and mother” (Matthew 12:46-50). 

I’d often wondered about this verse. At first glance, it seems rude to ignore one’s mother and brothers. But Jesus was always motivated by love, so there must be another explanation. In my research, I consulted Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary and learned something very interesting. 

For one thing, as Henry points out, Jesus’ mother and brothers were standing outside when they should have been standing inside listening to Him. Hmm. Very interesting.

Where am I standing, especially in my writing? Am I standing outside, deciding for myself what to write and then asking Jesus to bless it? Or am I standing inside, listening to Jesus tell me what to write? 

Then Henry says something else that is very interesting: “We often meet with hindrances in our work from friends about us. . . . Christ was so intent on his work, that no natural or other duty took him from it.” 

No natural or other duty took Jesus from His work. 

Can I say the same thing about my writing? In all honesty, no. Like most writers, I continually struggle with maintaining my priorities, and I sometimes take on things I shouldn’t take on. But I keep working on balancing my life, and I re-evaluate regularly.

Yet, a bigger issue is involved here. The issue of seeking first the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33). Jesus always sought the Kingdom of God above all else in everything He did. I must do the same in every area of my life. When we seek first the Kingdom of God, everything else we need will be given to us. 

To seek first the Kingdom of God means to be more passionate about building God’s Kingdom than my own. It means to put God and His Word as the final authority in every situation I face. It means that if I am called to write, then I must write. 

Henry concludes with this truth: “ . . . the lesser duty must stand by, while the greater is done.”

What is the greater duty? From now on, that will be my constant question as I face the daily decisions of my life. What about you?

When all is said and done, only the greater duty is what matters. And it is only the greater duty for which we will be held accountable.

 

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7 thoughts on “The Greater Duty

  1. The blog is beautiful in presentation and content! I love the color and format. It’s great to be back together again. Good stuff!

    October 1, 2008 at 10:08 AM

  2. I totally need to hear this today. I took the month of September off from social things to refocus on my writing purpose and schedule. However, life got in the way several times and I didn’t accomplish all my goals. But I’m not letting that stop me. I’ve set new goals for October and will continue to strive to meet them. All this after praying about what I should be doing.

    At the same time, I need to be listening to see if I should make an unplanned turn – you never know when you need to take them unless you are paying attention.

    I hope and pray God will give me ears to hear!

    October 1, 2008 at 10:39 AM

  3. Priorities… everybody says it is about priorities, but like you say, it is all about taking time to really realign yours with God’s.

    October 1, 2008 at 8:17 PM

  4. Excellent post. It speaks to me right where I’m at these days – listening for God’s direction on a project. I’ve laid aside fiction for awhile – or permanently if He says so – and am concentrating on some non-fiction projects. Before I put the fiction aside, I felt such conflict, such dread – like I was up against a wall of sorts.

    But now that I’ve put it aside, that dread and conflict is gone. It’s fun to write again.

    Thanks!

    October 2, 2008 at 9:09 AM

  5. I loved this post, too, esp. the part about not doing the lesser good instead of the greater. Matt. 6:33 was in my bible study today, too. Isn’t it amazing how God can use so many different avenues to pound something home to us? PS MaryAnn is hosting a tele-class this month about hearing God speak for any of you interested!

    October 2, 2008 at 2:25 PM