Motives; July 22, 2018

John 12:6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

A couple of things speak to me from this. The first is that Judas’ character flaws didn’t begin with his going to the authorities and offering to betray Jesus. That brings up the point that the 12 apostles were ordinary people chosen for extraordinary work. In line with that, it teaches us that titles don’t guarantee character; the higher your position, the closer watch you need to keep on yourself, because the devil is going to be after you to trip other people up. With all of that said, what speaks to me most from this is that public motives and private motives are often very different. We are seeing that constantly right now in all the political uproar. People who are making a big deal of family separations at the US border said nothing at all about it during the previous administration, when it was much worse, which makes their protests very suspect. Lots of proposals that claim to be for the benefit of the general population are really nothing more than power grabs. Just as Judas didn’t really care about the poor, such people really care only about their personal power and revenue stream. Perhaps the saddest thing is that some genuinely well-meaning people are deceived and allow themselves to be manipulated and used by such people. Discernment is always called for. Jesus put it like this: “Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16) That includes keeping watch over our own motives, knowing that only as we are submitted to God can we genuinely resist the devil. (James 4:7)

Of course I’m no exception. Do I want the flock to increase because I want more people to be saved, or because I want to increase my political power and revenue stream? For that matter, do I want to take good pictures so that I can bless people and give glory to God, or to inflate my ego and make money? Motives are always complicated, and rarely completely pure. I’ve got to be honest about that, before God and before people, and seek to allow the Holy Spirit to purify my motives. Money can have a very powerful pull, which is why Jesus talked about it so much. As Paul pointed out, the love of money can generate just about every other kind of evil, just as it did with Judas. (1 Timothy 6:10) God is my supply for everything. The moment I forget that, I lay myself open to all sorts of attacks from the one who only comes to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10:10)

Father, thank You for this reminder. Help me always seek You, Your kingdom and Your righteousness, above, before, and beyond everything else, so that You may keep my motives straight, for the blessing of those around me and for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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