What is My Motive?

Today I read Job 20, Mark 3-4, and RPJ chapter 37. The theme this morning is motivation. It is so hard sometimes to get a grip on where my heart is. There are many times I think I am doing something for the right reasons only to get angry later when it didn’t go my way or someone didn’t respond the way I thought they should. There are other times when I see the right thing to do and can see how we could get there but I get blocked by someone else which causes me to try to figure out a way to get them to agree with me which then basically causes me to bypass the true relational piece in exchange for getting agreement. I then am tempted to process my frustration with others which, when I have failed, is gossip.

So here in these passages I read about the Pharisees and their desire to “get the truth about Jesus” out in the open so they could convict him and get rid of him since he was an obstacle to their plans. Now I don't think the Pharisees where demons disguised in human skin. They actually were human, and as such had plans that they probably felt where the best thing for the nation of Israel to do to fulfill God’s plan for them. They probably started out with great motives and a desire to obey the law and the prophets. The problem came in when they put their plans above the people and they tied their entire reputation and status to the fulfillment of that plan. At that point it became a matter of pride that drove them and with the new guy in town stealing all their thunder and saying he had a “new plan” they just couldn’t let that happen. So twice in this passage they try to get something on Jesus so they can discredit him. They saw healing on the Sabbath as work which would violate the Sabbath. Jesus confronted them and did it anyway. They attributed his work of casting out demons to him being guided by the power of Satan himself. Jesus pointed out the flaw in their logic in front of everyone.

In those passages it said they wanted to kill him. So how did these guys go from being pastor types to becoming the mafia? I think it all goes back to their motives and getting wrapped up in who they were based on what they did (of course prophesy played a role too). I think of my own situation in ministry. The more I base who I am on what I do, what I produce, how much I am recognized for what I produce, or “making a mark on the world,” the more I am concerned with getting people to go along with my “plan.” The more I don't care who gets the credit or how we get to the best for the people in the church, the more I am able to be real in my relationships with others and actually live life in all its fullness. Motives are so tricky sometimes that I find I fluctuate sometimes and find I am more wounded by things that should be no big deal. Ultimately I just want to be where God wants me, doing what he wants me to do, and enjoying where he placed me moment by moment. As one of the other pastors on staff told me yesterday, “I don’t need to have big dreams because today has enough excitement for me.”

Lord, help my motives to be pure in serving you. Don’t let me go off the path to a place where I am so wrapped up in the ministry that I will defend an idea or program to the “death.” Keep me in a place where relationships are the most important and being real in those relationships and with you is my primary goal. Amen.