Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Safe In The Arms Of Jesus"1 (Lyrics)
I was serving, but deep inside, my motives were tainted.
Fresh out of college and pastoring my first church, I was eager to impress … someone … anyone. So began my journey for recognition. In addition to pastoring and teaching full-time, I directed a department in our local church association, worked on my Master's degree, and volunteered with local literary associations. To say that my plate was full is an understatement.
My efforts were cloaked under the disguise of living out my faith, but I was mostly serving self. I craved advancement in my denomination along with name recognition. To a degree, I accomplished my purpose, but "praying on the street corner" retrieved recognition only from others, not God.
Serving God with a clear conscience involves motives. He is "the God I serve with a clear conscience" (2 Timothy 1:3 NLT). Jesus warned:
Matthew 6:5 – When you pray, don't be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. (NLT)
Jesus was hounded and surrounded by the religious elite who bragged about their accolades and revelled in their righteousness. But their motives for serving God and others were corrupted by a self-seeking attitude. They fancied acknowledgement, praise, and rewards from others. And others gave it, but God didn't.
Why we do something is as important as what we do. Our acts of service may benefit others, but God peeks beneath the veneer, examines our motives, and judges accordingly. Amount given doesn't necessarily equal credit received in God's book of records. Our giving and service should emerge from appreciation for what God has done for us. When it does, our service will be more enjoyable, the inner turmoil will vanish, and God will say, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Are you serving with sincerity?
Prayer: Blessed Lord, we acknowledge that we are all we are because of Your grace. Paint our service to others with sincerity so that we might enjoy Your earthly and heavenly rewards and accurately reflect Your love to others. Amen.