Last week, twice, I was brought to tears upon discovering what a couple different people in our church are doing to help others, behind the scenes. In ways requiring personal sacrifice. Other than those they are helping no one knows so there is no glory or recognition. They are simply being the hands and feet of Christ. Loving others the way we are called.
I have to believe this happens in big and small ways all over the place, all the time, but because it is done privately I don’t know about it. Even so, these acts of service and love, along with a conversation with my husband, have lead me to think about motives. Motives behind what, how and why we do and don’t do what we do.
If you are honest…
- Do you kind of like people to know the “good” you do?
- Don’t you kind of want people to know why you are so tired or why you are unavailable to help with something else?
- Even if it’s not abundant public praise you are after, don’t you want others to view you highly because of what all you do?
As genuine as we may be in wanting to serve others, because we are sinners our well-intended motives get mixed up with our own self-serving desires. The bottom line is: There really is no righteous heart, pure motive or good deed.
That sounds strong. This is how entrenched in sin we really are!
This is why we need a Savior. It’s not just the immoral overtly bad behavior that is sin; it is deep in our hearts, thoughts, motives and desires. The things nobody sees so we appear to be “good” Christians. The things even we don’t admit to ourselves.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9
If this is true, what do we do about it?
- Do we cease to serve others if it is also self-serving?
- Do we think we are “cured” if we just don’t publicize our “good” actions?
- Do we think better about ourselves for our private behind the scenes help when we see others volunteer and give financially publicly?
No. No. No.
Our only hope is in Jesus. He was the only One who served with a pure heart. The only One who gave unconditionally with out gain. The only One who transforms us more and more to His likeness.
He does this not by making us less and less sinful and therefore more holy. He dos this by showing us more and more of our sin so that we see how holy He is for us!
Now when I recognize my desire to be thanked or noticed for my good deeds, I see my need for His perfection and turn to Him in honest confession. Now when I realize I am serving out of duty and not love, I turn to Him asking for His love to penetrate my heart so that I am able to give to others.
Whether it is behind the scenes of serving others or behind the scenes of my heart that no one sees, Lord, please help me to see myself rightly and know that only by your goodness is there anything good within me!
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