“Love can do much, but duty more.”
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Is duty still a virtue? Centuries ago it was. Today, it feels more like a four-letter word.
I define duty as an obedient, reverential expression to something or someone. It’s a way of expressing devotion. It’s one way love is lived out.
Do we have a reverential obedience to anything today?
Perhaps our emotions. To be sure, they're another way to express devotion. The only problem is that emotions are fickle. They come and go. If emotional responses define how we ultimately express love and devotion, what happens when we wake up on the wrong side of the bed? As someone wise once said, “Emotions are good servants, but poor masters.”
When it comes to devotion, duty is what’s required—emotions are optional. Of course, when duty and emotion synchronize, harmonious things happen.
Duty is an asset. Emotions can be too, but finicky ones at best. They cease to be assets when they take control and take over.
Duty is still a virtue… one worth adopting no matter how we feel.