December 29, 2015

A Story About Muddied Motives

Written by Shana Schutte

A Story About Muddied Motives 12.29

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – December 29, 2015

By Shana Schutte.

Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being. Psalm 51:6

In 2003, I started a writing and speaking ministry with the right motives. I wanted to serve God; I cared about making His name great. A few years later, it became more about marketing campaigns, reaching more people, and succeeding in a career than about pleasing Christ. I am not happy to admit that my motives got muddied with worldly ideals. Not coincidentally, this is just about the time I lost the joy of serving through using my gifts and talents. God started pressing the issue of my motives. I felt Him calling me to a place of deeper commitment in which I would be willing to die to my desires and take a long, hard look at why I was serving. I realized that although I started the ministry with pure motives, I had gotten off track—and frankly, I was miserable.

About this time, I did a study in Galatians and reflected on Paul’s life. I was reminded Paul was called through revelation by Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:12). He received this revelation that He might preach the gospel to the Gentiles (Galatians 1:16). Paul did not receive a doctrine, a church membership, or a certification from study. He received a call from Christ. It hit me: Jesus is the prerequisite for all authentic service or ministry for Christ.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

This challenged me. I wrote in my journal:

When the world’s attempts to make ministry better through this tactic, that program, that campaign means we lose the heart of ministry, which is Christ, then we have missed God’s point. But it’s not easy to keep Christ at the heart of what we do, is it? It’s not easy because this means that if it’s all about Jesus (no matter where or how we serve), not about us soothing our ego, succeeding in our latest marketing campaign, or reaching more numbers, then we must face ourselves and die to our desire for our own glory. We must let God lead. Ouch! Our affections must be purified. And we have to ask ourselves, do I love what I am doing more than I love Christ? Is my affection for my purpose or His?

Will I put Christ first? No matter what I have been called to. . . to sing, teach, design, or work in the world some other way by offering my vocational or spiritual gifts, will I serve rather than choose to be served? Without being connected to the Head, which is Christ, my vocational or spiritual calling is vanity, a chasing after the wind, in which all of my best efforts, if not built on the foundation which is Jesus, will be burned up when I stand before Him—and I will receive nothing: absolutely no reward for my service (1 Corinthians 3:12-15). Why are you serving? Why do you do what you do? Is the point of your purpose to serve yourself? Or, do you desire to serve Christ? What motivates you?

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17)

Prayer:  “Lord, thank you for using me to glorify you. Please help me to always remember that my life is about you and your glory alone. Remind me that glorifying you is the only way to true internal joy and freedom.”

Application: Take a minute today and answer the above questions. Are your motives to glorify God or make a name for yourself? Do you desire to lift Him up or to make your own name great? Talk to the Lord about what you discover about why you serve.

Related Readings: 1 Peter 4:11; Ephesians 5:20; Zechariah 4:6

Post/Tweet this today: Why are you serving? #WisdomHunters #AStoryAboutMuddiedMotives

Worship Resource: 5 minute video- Elevation: Jesus I Come

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