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From Duty to Delight

Posted by Albert Ng on

In my upbringing, the concept of "duty" is important. It's not about whether I like it or not, it's about "our" well-being. Mom started working after dinner, it's my duty to do the dishes. My sister will mop the floor.

“Duty” is not a popular word. It implies an obligation. Somebody other than myself can hold me accountable. Duty also implies works that I may not like or enjoy. And we hate that.

However, my family didn't think that way. We are a family. We care for one another. Now that I am (slightly) older, I realize that "duty" is just our way of saying, "I love you, we will share the load together." I still don't like doing the dishes, but I willingly do it anyway.

Over the years, there is a subtle change in my heart. There is a gradual shift from “duty” to “delight.” While the behaviour may not change, the heart does. When my boy was still a baby, I insisted on changing his diapers whenever I am home. It’s smelly and messy, but I managed to make it a happy event (most of the time). Now, when I remove everything from my bedroom to do deep cleaning behind the cabinets and under the bed, I know it’s an expression of my care for my family (despite the sneezing and running nose caused by the dust).

There is a major difference between “I get to do this” versus “I have to do this.” “I have to” is unpleasant. But the attitude of “I get to” redeems the mundane and make it delightful.


“Make the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:16)

I pray that God will help us see opportunities in the midst of challenges and heartbreaks. I pray that we will come out stronger. Even in the midst of all the “I have to,” I pray that God will allow you to see something so precious that you will thank God because you see the precious “I get to” part.

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