Something as simple as throwing a rock can be fun and dangerous. Last week we took a walk at Freedom Park in Charlotte. It is one of the nicest and largest city parks I have ever been to. We walked down a path to Little Sugar Creek, and the kids started to throw rocks in the pond. At first it was any rock, but then it became who can throw the largest rock in order to make the largest splash. We finished up our rock throwing, and headed back up to the main path.
A couple of weeks ago at work, rock throwing brought about destruction. Two of the boys in my class got upset about the way the soccer game was going, and decided to throw rocks at each other. One boy threw a rock and hit the other. The other boy found a larger rock, and threw it at the one who had started it. That rock missed its intended target, and hit the principal’s window.
These two stories have a few things in common. One they both involve rocks. Two, each person want to throw the larger rock. The main difference is the intent and motive behind it. When my kids were throwing the rocks, they were doing it to have fun. When my students were throwing the rocks, they did it to hurt each other. The motive defined the result.
Motives are often the reason why we do not see God bless us the way we desire. We believe that if we do certain things, God will bless us automatically. Often we tithe because we believe God will give us more money because we did so. Truth is, we tithe because we are commanded to. We go to church on Sunday with the sole purpose of getting something from God. We go to get blessed, and we give back anything in return. The motive is to serve ourselves, and not to serve God. While going to church is a good thing, God knows our true motives.
All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit. – Proverbs 16:2
We serve and give to our church because we are commanded too. The Bible does say we will be blessed from doing so, but our goal in giving and serving is because we want to show love to our God. Paul wrote:
But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. – I Thessalonians 2:4
We are called to have the same attitude. We have been entrusted with the gospel, and our focus is to please man. Often we serve to please others. We want the praise for ourselves. We want people to look at us, and think about how awesome we are. The goal of our service has nothing to do with following through with God’s call on our life, but has everything to do with personal gain. Jesus said:
Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 6:1
Our motives show where are heart is. If we are doing things for the Lord with the goal of gaining attention, then the gain we will receive is attention. When we serve with the goal of bringing God glory, the result will be bringing glory to God.
We should always ask ourselves why we give our time and money. If the goal is to bring about selfish gain, then the only thing we are setting our sights short of the ultimate blessings God has in store for us. John the Baptist said:
He must increase, but I must decrease.” – John 3:30