A Thing About Obedience

“I don’t like the word ‘obedience,’” spouted one of our young grands. Trying to wrangle several children who would rather play than help with chores was a bit like herding cats, or little mice! When such a teachable moment dashed across the floor, this old cat pounced!

“Hmmm…I wonder what that word really means?” I dramatically pondered aloud. Curiosity capturing us, Webster app at the ready, we took a peek.

Obedience is usually thought of in a negative sense as being forced to do something someone else insists we do. The more positive meaning embraces how we respond, how we manage ourselves, and with what kind of attitude. Webster outlines obedience as a bending, a yielding, a willingness to follow. As the young ones contemplated these more positive thoughts, and the fact that their freedom to choose was a big part of it, we dove into the monumental tasks of picking up toys, vacuuming, loading the dishwasher, cleaning rooms and bathrooms, and keeping the laundry going.

Throughout the day each of the aspects of bending, yielding, and willingness were evident. Of course, eliminating the deadly distraction of phones and iPads helped the effort tremendously, as did adding music, silliness, and a bit of dancing to turn up enthusiasm. In their freedom to exercise independence, reminders to help them refocus were necessary to encourage willing hearts. With grace and patience with one another we accomplished our goal, and surprised a tired Momma, anticipating two-week company the next day, with the gift of a clean house.

The fact that the day ended on a happy note was a tremendous relief as we rested chatting together. Hopefully, by overcoming the perceived overwhelm in small bites, the children realized chores were less torturous than imagined, and a sense of accomplishment was gained as little tasks were completed. I was so proud of their efforts, and especially each of them choosing as they did to participate.

Though this day happened long ago, the memories remind me that these insights apply to old people as well. And of the patience of a good God who helps us refocus again and again on His truths, learning as He comes alongside us throughout all life’s challenges, that He, indeed, is Worthy to be followed, and obeyed.


LORD, thank You that you give us direction to mature us wholly in our human and spiritual lives. Thank You, Father, for the freedom of choice You have given us, and Your patient love when we refuse to listen. Forgive our prideful arrogance. Help us realize we are your children, no matter our earthly age. Give us willing hearts to listen, and the delight of living with You in harmony and obedience. Let us laugh in Your presence with the joyous, pure abandon of a child. Amen.

Romans 6:16 NKJV “16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?”

Psalm 119:4-6 “You have commanded us
To keep Your precepts diligently. 5 Oh, that my ways were directed
To keep Your statutes! 6 Then I would not be ashamed,
When I look into all Your commandments”

Matthew 18:2-3 “Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, 3 and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”

12 thoughts on “A Thing About Obedience

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