Farmers Market




Lewis & Quark


Work + Labor

     What do you have to do? Why do you continue to do it? It would be easier, in many respects, to only do what we want to do. Video games are so much more fun than sweeping. But the assumption in that statement is that fun is the ultimate goal. Fun is subjective. While I may find fun in reading a philosophy textbook, there are a lot of people who do not. For each of us to fulfill our own dreams of happiness fully would be to eventually clash with one another.  Let us suppose that someone finds fun in killing people. Fulfilling his view of fun would be a danger to society, not to mention wrong. So we have a choice before us. Do we seek pleasure and fun primarily? Or do we seek what we have to do first?
     The choice is unavoidable. There is no way one can live life without doing what we have to do. On the other hand, it is not unimaginable to conceive of a life without fun. Fun is simply what we do for enjoyment. It is not a necessary for life. While what we have to do is an analytic statement. It has to be because it has to be. It is the very application of necessity. There is no escaping it. At least, without consequences. Let us assume your mom wants you to take out the trash. You are currently having fun, doing who-knows-what on your phone. You affirm your willingness to do it--and then don't. As a result, you are forced into it through punishment.
     The point being, you do it, whether you like to or not. And even if no one makes you do it, there are natural, not just efficient, causes. Say you continue to leave that trash there. It will grow mold, attract insects, smell, etc. People who allow those things to happen or want them to happen are called animals. Or they become hoarders. We could posit many more distortions of this principle. Ultimately, what you "have" to do is what you have to do because the consequences that follow are worse than having to do something unpleasant. You are making a deal, a bargain of sorts, with time and God. "I will do this thing now, that I don't want to do, in order to prevent a greater quantity of what I don't want." You are looking to a better future.
     But specifically in this example, and in many other things we have to do, repetition ensues. You take that trash out today--it will be sure to be full again tomorrow. You will take it to the curb again--if you want to avoid the consequences of bugs and smells, etc. Now that is a rather specific example. There are much bigger things we have to do. In a moral sense, even. God commands us to do moral things--and we don't, as well as directly controverting the commands and doing evil.
    To restate, what we have to do, is imposed upon us by necessity. Either we signed up to do it, our existence merits it, or we fear the consequences more than we fear the action. In a simpler version, our occupation, moral or parental obligations, and the general idea that encompasses the previous two. But it does not come to us naturally.
     Humanity is essentially individualistic. That's why the United States of America has worked to well so far. It caters to that. Individualism, while it has its blessings, also contains an important and dangerous caveat. It ultimately panders to selfishness. We have almost no innate desire to do what is hard, out of our reach, or necessary. Not to say that we do not want to do those things. If we do, that is a sign of wisdom and rationality. But if it were innate and readily discernible by the mass of human flesh walking around, an argument for it would not need to be formed.
     It does not take a spiritual revolution to realize that a better life is to be had when we perform the tasks given to us with thankfulness and grace, our lives will be better. It only takes a little common sense. Spiritual revolutions are good and useful. Good and useful walk hand in hand. When--as Scripture describes it--we have a spiritual revolution, it compels us to do these things not primarily for our own benefit later on, but because it is the right thing to do. The tasks given to us are usually not impersonal and abstract. They typically take the form of a boss or parent's command, and in extreme and universal situations, God's command. We do things, and not all the time, but as a pattern, because they are right. Extreme moral absolutism. A good thing, just so long as we remember that we are not the bosses or the parents. Our moral absolutism does not extend to others in an authoritative way.
     But one day it will. One day, you will more than likely be the parent. Be the boss/manager. Be the leader. Be the lawmaker, etc. That's not a bad thing, in time. The rules we have now are for our benefit. And by following the rules, we merit rule-making.
"His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'" (Matthew 25:21)
     And while this verse may be slightly out of context, it proves a point.
"For who has despised the day of small things?" (Zechariah 4:10)
This is another motivation of sorts. "Do good now, and you can be in charge and do what you want later!" Humans don't think non-utilitarian naturally. If you press someone and if they're willing to be honest, they'll admit they do good things and comply with regulatory principles for their own sake. But that's not the point. The point is that it is a blessing to do good. It is a blessing to have the opportunity to do good. And not for the earning of God's favor, let Him forbid. For our brothers' sake. For, sometimes, and always partially, our own sakes. 
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