October 4

Written by Bill Grandi on October 4th, 2023

When I was in college, there was a war going on. In fact, I’m going to date myself with this revelation. The war was in some southeast Asian country. You know…Vietnam.

While in college studying for the ministry, I met some guys who were only at that college for one reason and probably one reason only: they wanted to avoid the war. You see, if you were studying at a Bible college for some type of ministry, you were exempt from military service. I was naive;I didn’t know that. I guess I lived in my own world and didn’t really know much about Vietnam. I knew of the protests and sit-ins. I knew of the songs (“Four Dead in Ohio” by C,S,N,Y is one that sticks out in particular). There was a day or two when I had trouble finding a job for the summer and my uncle took me to a recruiting station (not that he himself would go). Fortunately, the recruiter called my parents to tell them and they talked some sense into me. I wasn’t ready for the military, and wasn’t ready for Vietnam in any way, shape. or form. (Who was?). Anyway, I did find a job-one that reinforced my idea of my life’s vocation. For that, I am forever grateful to God.

Back to the students. Their reason for being at a Bible college had almost nothing to do with the “calling” they sensed on their life to spend it in ministry. And to make matters worse, when they did serve somewhere, their heart and reason were totally out of whack. I’m not judging; I’m stating a fact.

The reason or motive for doing something may be far more important than what is done.

Now, I’m not saying what is done is inconsequential. But when a person serves out of guilt or shame or a sense of obligation, joy disappears.  And where there is no joy in whatever one does, the task become mundane. Some people take great pride in what they do. Only that becomes the problem: pride. Not that we shouldn’t care about what we do and work at doing our best. But I’m talking here about having a servant’s heart. No task done because of the joy of service, but perhaps for the accolades or salve a hurting psyche.

Why do you do what you do? If you serve at a soup kitchen, for example. Why? If you help at a homeless shelter. Why? If you support a missionary. Why? If you preach or teach. Why?

Go ahead. Ask yourself that and then give an honest answer. If you deem the motive wrong, take steps to clarify in your own heart, why you do what you do. Then correct it.


10 Comments so far ↓

  1. There should be joy in our journey, Bill. If that is missing, we can be certain we are heading down the wrong path. Yes, let us ask ourselves what our motives are and correct our direction if we’re wrong.

  2. Pam says:

    I find it interesting that you and I both wrote on “calling” today, though from different perspectives. However He does it, I pray God uses our words to clarify things for someone.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      I haven’t had a chance to read yours yet Pam. I will be interested in seeing how you write about it.

  3. Ryan S says:

    There have been many times in ministry where I have had to take a step back (mentally) and ask myself the why.
    Why am I doing what I am doing? There have been times where my role in ministry have been more visible and there have been times where my role has been in the background. The WHAT is far less in important than the WHY.

    Sometimes the WHY changes and that change may be more out of our emotions or listening to the wrong voice at times.

    I have caught myself in more than one occasion thinking I need to step out because my motive was wrong and there was lack of joy vs determining why my joy was lacking. More often than not my lack of joy had nothing to do with the ministry I was involved with. It had more to do with being attacked mentally and spiritually and allowing those attacks to change my perspective.

    I would challenge anyone involved in ministry or considering their involvement to ask a heart felt why… WRITE IT DOWN, REVIEW IT OFTEN… REVISE IF NEEDED.
    More often than not the WHY won’t change much and it is a good gut check when in a slump.

  4. gail says:

    One of my late pastor’s favorite saying was: God doesn’t use people to get work done, God uses work to get people done. I thought that was a great point to think about. Sometimes in our stubbornness, and prideful ways the only way we learn what a servants heart is, is to step into the role and learn by doing it. God can always teach a stubborn heart to open up when He has their attention.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      I really like what you said at the end Gail. “God can always…” It is amazing what God can do. 🙂

  5. Cheryl says:

    A heart and motive check is always in order. Sometimes, we don’t even realize we are doing what we are doing for the wrong reasons. Thank you for this reminder, Pastor Bill.