2001-05-12 - Motives
Sometimes when we do something "good," we want to make sure people are aware of it. We crave recognition for it. We want it announced in the church newsletter, and the editor had better spell our name right! But Jesus warns us against that.
(Mat 6:1-4 NASB) Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. 2 "When therefore you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 3 "But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing 4 that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
Our motives for doing good should be a love of God and fellow man. Sometimes we get discouraged if our good deeds are not affirmed. But as someone has said, "We serve an audience of One." Many times, when we "practice our righteousness," it will go unnoticed by people, but never by our Omniscient God. Jesus is the only perfect human being ever, and even His good works did not receive a lot of affirmation. In fact, we need to expect that if we are following Christ's lead, our ideas will not always be popular.
(Gal 1:10 NASB) For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.
And it is easy to fall into the trap of judging what we do, by the results. But that isn't God's plumb line. We are to do our best and leave the results with Him. Even if a ministry is a "failure" by the world's standards, if we follow the Spirit's leading and do our best, it is a "success" in God's eyes. That is hard to grasp sometimes. But we aren't responsible for the results. What each of us is responsible for, is doing what God has for each of us individually to do.
Dear Father, please help us to have the right motives, to seek to please You, and to remember that You are our true Audience. Help us not seek accolades for ourselves, but rather glory for You. In Jesus' name, amen.