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March 21

Thursday, 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.