March 21

Written by Bill Grandi on March 21st, 2024

Let’s consider a word this morning which is often overlooked in our culture today. The word is M.O.T.I.V.E. Why do we do what we do?

There is no question that many of us tend to have a guard up when it comes to a relationship with people. While it’s true there are some people who are naturally skeptical of others and they already have their guard up, there are those who are suckers for every dog and pony show that comes down the pike. I’m talking both religious and non-religious. While it is easy to take potshots at every fly-by-night wheeler dealer who pitches something when that person makes no profession of faith (except maybe in getting rich), it gets even more troublesome when that person claims to be “working or speaking for God.” Honestly? It curls my insides. Sadly, hucksterism is alive and well in the religious world.

That begs the question we must ask: what is the motive? Why is that person doing or saying what they are? That is really an important question to ask and it calls for discernment. It goes without saying that all that glitters is not gold. For the naturally skeptical people or the ones who are willing to practice discernment, they can recognize the shadiness behind actions. But for those who want to be more trusting and “see the good in people” they fail to see the sketchiness of someone doing something.  Truthfully, the hucksters rely on that mentality. They rely on folks who don’t take the time to investigate and analyze the “why.” Therefore, they will find themselves used as pawns in a big game…and they come out on the short end of that stick.

In Proverbs 21:2 it says, “People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their hearts.” (NLT)  Right there is the key to the whole thing. While some people may be able to fool others, there is ONE who cannot and will not be fooled. We need to be discerning, but ultimately the judgement for their motives will be made by God.  And I don’t want to be standing close to that person when judgment comes and all is revealed. Jesus consistently, i.e. more than once, condemned the religious leaders because they did what they did in order to be seen by men. He took them to task for their hypocrisy.

So now is a good time and place to ask the question: Why do you do what you do? Why do you help out at that shelter? Why did you reach out to the homeless person? Why did you give a note of encouragement to a co-worker? Why did you compliment someone today? Remember: people may see you and praise you, but as the proverbs tells us, God knows the heart.


10 Comments so far ↓

  1. Let’s take some time to reflect on this today, Bill. Why do we do what we do, and are our motives pure? That’s a question only God can help us answer. He does know our hearts, inside and out.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      He does know our heart Martha. That is what makes it all so much more important that we check the “why.”

  2. Ryan S says:

    Sadly, my motivation has often been… “because helping/giving/sharing/loving/relating/etc. Is what I am supposed to do”

    Sure, there are times in the moment and when one has committed to something where I may not “feel” like doing something, but I know in my heart that I need to continue.

    There are other times, however, that I may be asked and I should really take the time to consider my heart is in it or if I am considering the commitment solely because of the expectation or the desire to please.

    There are endless needs and opportunities in this world to serve, I need to be responsive to those God has called me to, not necessarily what others are called to.

    I pray God gives me the discernment and guidance to make His choice for me.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      You bring up a good point Ryan: Is it solely because of expectation or the desire to please? I know there are times my motives are mixed.

  3. gail says:

    We want all of our motives to be for the glory of God, everything we do reflect our love for Christ and expand God’s kingdom. I agree with Martha, I want to pray and ask God to reveal to me where my motives are to help me see the truth and to adjust to God’s ways and not my own.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      I think that is one great way of making sure our motives are right Gail. The other, of course, is in His Word.

  4. Ed Damas says:

    I tend not to be too stingy with giving of my time to others. My motivation is always found in the ministry of Jesus… He always gave His time to others, even the ones that society looked down on. My/our motivation should come out of love for others. Yet sometimes I’m reminded of the parable of the two sons, where one did not go and regretted it. I just don’t want to be like that, but I am…

    • Bill Grandi says:

      I think all of us from time to time are the brother who didn’t go. Our motivation should our love for others grounded in our love for Jesus.

  5. I have a poem in my bible that I fall back on when it comes to motives. It has helped through the years as we have served in leadership roles everywhere we have served.

    You know Lord I serve you with great emotional fever in the limelight

    You know how eagerly I speak for you at ladies fellowship group

    You know how excited I am to promote a fellowship group

    You know my genuine enthusian at a bible study

    But I wonder how I would react,
    if you pointed to a basin of water.

    And ask me to wash the calloused feet of a bent and wrinkled old women

    Day after day, month after month, in a
    room where nobody knew or saw me


    • Bill Grandi says:

      That is a very good and pointed poem Betty. Sort of lays it all out there doesn’t it? Thanks for sharing that.