And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25
"Aww, do I hafta?"
I wonder how many parents have raised their children and have never heard those words come out of the mouths of their young ones. Ask the children to pick up their rooms, take out the garbage, clean the cat's litter box, wash the car, or do any small chore and the response is, "Do I hafta?"
If that sounds familiar, I point you to the country of Spain where the national legislature is studying a bill that would make children legally obliged to help with housework. If the proposed bill becomes the law, "children under the age of 18 will be expected to participate in family life, respect their parents and siblings, and perform household duties."
Now you may rightly wonder shouldn't children do these things anyway?
The answer is of course, they should. Still that doesn't always happen. Spain's lawgivers know that, just as they know men don't always help with housework. That's why they enacted another law, a law with legal sanctions, which penalizes men who are slackers at home.
It's all part of a plan to force people to do that which they should gladly, willingly and voluntarily do.
You know, I've been looking through the Gospels to see those times when the Savior forced people to do those things they should voluntarily do.
Jesus said people should love one another (see John 14:34-35), but He doesn't tax them if they don't. He says we should take eat; take drink in remembrance of Him (see Luke 22:14-20), but there is no jail time threatened for those who decline. He tells us to go, teach, preach, and baptize (see Matthew 28:18-20), but He doesn't give anyone a ticket if they decide to stay at home.
Understand, it's not that those things are not important; they are incredibly important. Indeed, if a person consistently refuses to respond to God's grace, He really ought to check and see if his faith is viable.
That being said, the Lord doesn't punish spiritual underachievers. That's because the Father believes any Christian who considers his previously lost condition and the fires of hell which once were his final fate, is going to be thankful for his deliverance. Anyone who sees God's Son carry His sins and die a terrible death on Calvary cannot remain unmoved and untouched.
The Lord believes that if Jesus is important to you, you will not be able to stop yourself from living a life of thanksgiving for the graces you have received.
In short, God doesn't ever want to hear, "Do I hafta?" Jesus didn't say those words when He was here saving us, and those whom He has saved shouldn't say those words either.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, knowing what Jesus has done for me, I am moved to thank and praise, to serve and obey Him. May this always be most certainly true. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries