Thursday, March 5, 2009

Matthew 6:1 Why do you do what you do?

The past week, a quarterback for the New England Patriots, Matt Cassell, was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs for a 2nd round draft pick. People all over the internet have been questioning the motivation behind the trade because the coach of the Patriots, Bill Belichick, is not exactly known for being generous or friendly. In fact, as a writer on Yahoo .com notes “This is Bill Belichick we’re talking about here. He’d cheat in a game of Connect Four with a poor orphan child. He didn’t become the coach he is by doing people ‘favors’.” In short, some people think he made this trade with improper motives. You or I will probably never make decisions of the magnitude of an NFL trade involving millions of dollars, but the motivation we have to serve Jesus Christ as ministers should come from a desire to please God, no to draw attention away from Him to ourselves.

Jesus must have had this idea in mind when He spoke to the crowd and told them to “Beware”. There is nothing in the Bible that I would ever say is unimportant but there are some things that are more significant than others. If Jesus gives a warning, I’d say that would be a good thing for you and I to listen to and make a point of remembering. We should examine our motives to make sure our service to the Lord comes as a result of our love for our Savior and our thankfulness for what He has done for us.
Our motivation should never be to be noticed by people. When we serve God and do good works it should never be in order that we will “be noticed by them”. Frankly, it is a temptation that many Christians fall prey to as they minister. It is easy for preachers or singers to hear the praise of people and bask in the limelight. Everyone likes to be noticed and recognized and certainly there is nothing wrong with us telling someone how much their song blessed us or thanking a man for faithfully proclaiming God’s word. However, when we serve we must guard against having a goal of pleasing people. Rather, our prayer should be that they “see [our] good works and glorify [our] Father who is in heaven.”

In fact, being motivated by the recognition of other people in the end cheats us out of a true blessing. We are robbing ourselves of the joy of being rewarded by God. I’m not sure if you ever did this when you were a kid, but I can remember trying to convince my parents to let us open Christmas presents early. Most of the time, it didn’t work. However, a few times they gave in just to get some peace and quiet. We would excitedly open presents. When Christmas morning rolled around, though, we realized we had robbed ourselves of the excitement of opening ALL of our presents that morning. In much the same we, we rob ourselves of being rewarded by our loving, gracious heavenly Father when we choose a cheap substitute of praise from other people. They can give us recognition and a pat on the back. However, that recognition quickly grows faint and the pat on the back fades from our memory. They give praise out of their limited resources. In contrast, our Father in heaven gives lavishly out of His infinite supply of goodness. Dwelling in His presence forever, the sound of “Well done” will never fade as we praise Him forever for saving us.

Instead of settling for a cheap substitute of praise from people, let us always be motivated to serve God with the goal of pleasing Him with our service.


Jon L. Estes said...

Change of subject...

How do you get the nice for your blog and put it in blogspot?

IT handicapped!


Joe Blackmon said...


I think you left out a noun in there somewhere.

How did I get the nice WHAT for my blog and put it on blogspot?


Jon L. Estes said...


Joe Blackmon said...

Ok, this is how I did it.

Go to your Blogger Dashboard.
Go to the tab Layout.
Whatever your header is, probably below the thing Navbar, click Edit.
There should be an option Image. You load the image and then select Behind Title and Description.

I had to work to crop the image to get it to a size that worked.

Hope this helps.

Jon L. Estes said...

Thank you Joe,

I have learned something of cyber value today.