Sermon- The Sticky Problem Of Duty, Mark 10:21 sermons -- Sunday Sermons preaching resources
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Sermon Topics

The Sticky Problem Of Duty

There is one thing more you must do
Mark 10:17-30 or 10:17-27

Sermon Topic Happiness

Sermon Week Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle B

Scripture Summary Mark 10:21

Keywords

The American College Dictionary lists nine alternate definitions of the word "duty" covering a wide range of meanings. "Duty," we learn, is "that which one is bound to do by moral or legal obligation." "Duty" is also "a levy imposed on the import or export of goods." And in agricultural language, "duty" is "the amount of water necessary to provide for the crop in a given area." Nine definitions, it would seem, should be enough for a little four-letter word like "duty." But we don't have to be language experts to realize how easy it is to invest still other meanings not found in any dictionary.

Perhaps we ourselves can recall situations in which it seemed convenient to define "duty" as "that which we expect from others." Perhaps we can recall a circumstance when we used the word "duty" to cover the shame of a bit of wrongdoing. And, sad to note, we all are keenly conscious of innumerable cases of people equating "duty" with blind obedience to superiors-even to the point of mass murder.

Working out the right decision as to where one's duty lies can be a delicate and confusing process. Often that pesky little three-letter-word, "but," invades our thinking: "I really would like to help-but . . . "; "That sounds like a good thing to do-but ... "; "Ordinarily I would say 'yes'-but..."; "I know all you've done for me-but ...".

In the Epistle to the Hebrews we read, "God's Word is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword" (Heb.4: 12). Let us, therefore, look to God's Word for living and effective enlightenment on the problem of duty. Our Gospel Lesson tells the familiar story of the rich young man who kneels before Jesus in the hope of receiving enlightenment in this matter. The young man's spirit clearly is troubled. He possesses great wealth but he is unhappy. He can't seem to "get it all together," to use the modern expression. To paraphrase some "how to" book titles we've seen, he is looking for a formula for life labeled, "How to Be Happy Though Wealthy!" [...]

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