Cleaning Out the Barn
Growing up, this was the job I hated the most (and, hated is not too strong a word). Three times a week I had to clean out the feed room in the barn. That includes everything you think would be included. It was a stinky, unpleasant job. I did it because it was my chore to do. I did it because dad made me.
Fast forward 30 years. Saturday afternoon I was feeding the cows for Pop. I finished his instructions, and was about to leave the feed room when I noticed how dirty the floor was. I looked over and saw the shovel to the side and decided to clean the floor for him. I did the same thing that I'd done 30 years ago. It was just as unpleasant. But this time I did it not because I had to, but because I love him.
Obedience to God is kind of like that. Early on in our spiritual life, we obey because we have to; we do what we're told. Somewhere along the way, though – if you're really growing – we start obeying because we love him. Tasks that seemed to be so difficult at one point become much more bearable. That's why — long term — love is a far better motivator in Christian service than fear or obligation.
"If you love me, you will keep My commandments" (John 14:15).