When we meet someone, who has lived a long, healthy life, it’s natural to wonder what he or she did to achieve such longevity. Even the best health practices, however, cannot guarantee the length of our life. And yet there are things we can do to ensure the quality of our life—measured not in terms of luxuries but of virtue, goodness, and honor.
Wall Street Journal editor-at-large Gerard Baker recently wrote a tribute for the 100th birthday of his father, a man who achieved both—longevity and quality. What was his father’s secret? “He is from an era,” Baker explained, “when life was defined primarily by duty, not by entitlement, by social responsibilities, not personal privileges. The primary animating principle throughout his century has been a sense of obligation—to family, God, country.” Baker went on to write of his pride and gratitude for his father, “who, without fuss or drama, without expectation of reward or even acknowledgment, has got on—for a century now—with the simple duties, obligations and, ultimately, joys of living a virtuous life.”
That sense of duty to family, God, and country is what creates a virtuous life, just as certainly as nutritious food and exercise create a healthy life.
Honor must begin at home, the place where we are the truest version of ourselves. If we cannot live the principles of honesty and fidelity, charity, and kindness with our family—with those who are closest to us—then how can we truly live honorably toward anyone else?
When we have a sense of obligation to God, so many virtues naturally follow. We strive to make good choices, even when we are alone, because we know that we are, in reality, never alone. We count our blessings because we know where those blessings come from. And we find ways to help others because we know that’s what God would want us to do.
Obligation to family and God provides a solid foundation for honoring our country. We cherish her virtues while seeking to improve her weaknesses. We stand up for what is true and just and treat our fellow citizens with respect, fairness, and compassion.
Family. God. Country. Our obligation to these simple duties and joys will make for us, if not a long life, certainly a good and virtuous one.
January 24, 2021 – A Sense of Obligation
Broadcast Number 4,767
The Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square
Morning Has Broken
Gaelic melody; arr. Mack Wilberg
Press Forward, Saints
Vanja Y. Watkins; arr. Mack Wilberg
Awake the Harp, from The Creation
Franz Joseph Haydn
For the Beauty of the Earth
Conrad Kocher; setting by Michael Burkhardt
There Is Sunshine in My Soul Today
John R. Sweney; arr. Mack Wilberg
It’s a Grand Night for Singing, from State Fair
Richard Rodgers; arr. Arthur Harris
It Is Well with My Soul
Philip P. Bliss; arr. Mack Wilberg