Saturday, May 8, 2010

Beware of Motives

"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16
"Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 6:1

These verses may seem to be contradictory at first glance, but there is a world of difference between the two. Jesus warns us that there are pitfalls in serving our Father. He wants us to keep our motives pure and our ultimate reward safe. Do we want our reward now by “doing good works to be seen” and having men honor us? Jesus wants us to go about it simply and as privately as is feasible. How much better to be seen doing good works than to do good works to be seen?

I think a good visual is a burning candle that is simply fulfilling its purpose and casting a glow around everything it touches. It gives light and warmth and the wick is facing upward. An unseen hand has provided the fire. Love and gratitude is the fuel that keeps it going. It is a light and a comfort in a dark and sometimes hard world.

The second visual would be a spotlight. If you’ve ever stood in a spotlight the first thing you will notice is that it is blinding. You can’t see those who are right in front of you. Whoever steps into the middle of the light can be assured that all eyes will be on them. In directing jargon it is called, “Front and center.” I have seen people so bent on serving the Lord in a public fashion unable to see the needs in their family who are right in front of them.

We are told in Ephesians 2:10 that “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” We each have a path and a reward. Jesus so wants us to walk the path and receive our reward. He knows the pitfalls and He warns us to “Beware.” If Jesus gives us a warning let’s take it to heart and let it search us.

I recently was tempted to be offended by a lack of gratitude for something I had done faithfully and quietly for a long period of time. This has been a needed reminder that the One who never misses anything, even a motive, is the only one worthy to be “front and center.” "Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.” Revelation 22:12

MY PRAYER: Lord, thank you for your reminder. We trust your Spirit and your Word working in us and through us to keep us on the right path with the right motives. You are awesome. Take your rightful place front and center. Help us to take shelter under the shadow of Your wings.

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