SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON/The Duty Each Day Requires
Wednesday, September 4, 2013 1:00 AM
"Then Solomon offered up burnt offerings to the Lord on the altar of the Lord that he had built before the vestibule, as the duty of each day required, offering according to the commandment of Moses for the Sabbaths, the new moons, and the three annual feasts . . . According to the ruling of David his father, he appointed the divisions of the priests for their service, and the Levites for their offices of praise and ministry before the priests as the duty of each day required" (2 Chronicles 8:12-14a)
Someone once said that "the spring of all noble living is communion with noble ideals". I should think it not too difficult for any of us to see the truth of that statement especially as it relates to the performance of our daily duties before the Lord. If we truly are to hallow all our deeds (1 Cor 10:31) and sanctify even the most secular of our activities, rendering them with all due honor unto our God, then it must reside within us a notion of that 'ideal' to put the best of our effort into each moment's endeavors, faithfully applying ourselves to each day's work assigned to us by the King.
Our text today informs us that Solomon possessed this sense of noble, daily living which enabled him to perform those duties which each day required of him. Not only that, but he worked to facilitate the labor of the priests and Levites so that they too might properly give themselves to the service expected of them. There are several thoughts I would toss out before you today in connection with this daily obligation to which all Christians are bound, namely, to give ourselves fully to each day's duties.
First of all, notice the habitualness of Solomon's actions. It was daily! No chafing or grumbling is implied. He does not appear to suffer under an oppressive burden of routine boredom. Rather, I find here a joyful acceptance of his duties as each new day arrives. This quiet and peaceful contentment surely is to be shared by each and every believer when it comes to our own duties before the Lord, wouldn't you agree? In fact, I would deem this absolutely essential to the healthy Christian work ethic which we ought to possess and which should accompany all our days throughout our long earthly sojourn.
At times, joy for these daily duties is stripped from us as we wallow in idle dreaming of other more glorious endeavors or valiant deeds. Those 'grass is always greener on the other side of the fence' feelings often only tarnish the worth of our present labor and weary us for the task at hand. To combat this, then, it becomes necessary for us to ask God to show us the sensibleness and glory of our labor - that the beauty of it might not become obscured by drudgery.
I remember reading something that John Newton once wrote about angels. He suggested that if two angels were commissioned of God, one to go down to earth and to rule over earth's grandest empire, while the other was sent to sweep the streets of the foulest village - "that it would be a matter of entire indifference to each which service fell to his lot . . . for the joy of the angels lies only in obedience to God's will". Such an attitude on our part would serve us well as we approach the repetition of each day's duties with habitual faithfulness.
Secondly, I believe Solomon's example would serve to help us recognize the need to take a short-range view of things - that is, to focus on the work at hand (today) and leave tomorrow in the hands of God. Surely this is the attitude expressed by David when he said, "This is the day the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it." In other words, each day brings to us a particular set of duties to which we must apply ourselves, and our attitude should be to give ourselves fully to the tasks of this day. In this way, we refuse to put off until tomorrow what can and ought to be done today. Also, and with equal determination, we refuse to assume the burden of tomorrow's cares and duties today. I don't know about you, but it occurs to me that there is much encouragement to be found in such a position as this, for it preserves us from excessive worry about all that is beyond our reach while inviting us to attend exclusively to those things close at hand.
Alexander Maclaren once wrote: "What we want is every-day religion, and that every-day religion is the only thing that will enable us to do what the duty of every day requires." Think about that, won't you? -- 'Every-day Religion.' Certainly this is what we need! The key, of course, would seem to be a firm realization that we labor each day in the service of the King who has promised one day to receive us into His blessed presence with these words: "Well done, My good and faithful servant. Enter now into thy rest". Knowing that such a welcome awaits us and that such a Countenance, even now, rests upon us, might we not be inspired to give ourselves fully - mind, body, and soul - to the work for which each of us was created? Then, it must be our supreme desire now to grow where we are planted, to shine upon the hilltop where we've been placed, and to serve, with complete contentment, even in a corner of relative obscurity if that be the Lord's Will for us - knowing full well that our faithfulness there - even in the small things - will be applauded by the God of Heaven.
So then, to what set of duties has God called you today? Once identified, give yourself fully to them. Do not grow weary in doing the good thing which God has placed before you today!