From The Kitchen Window - Motives
Words by David Hollows
The story is told of the older person who was standing at the roadside of a very busy road near the zebra crossing when, suddenly, a stranger took the arm of the person and led them across the busy road. When the stranger had deposited the older person at the other side, and not waiting to be thanked for the support given, the stranger was more than surprised when the older person insisted that the stranger escort the older person back to the other side of the road where the older person had intended to remain, waiting for a taxi.
How our motives can lead us into a variety of situations!
Hercule Poirot, the famous fictional detective created by Agatha Christie, regularly uses the key phrase; ‘I must exercise the little grey cells’ in order to discover the motive which solves the mystery. Motives are important.
Out motives can be positive and negative.
Our motives can be transparent: we work to gain an income which will provide for our needs, we exercise to remain healthy, we give to charity to support those in greater need and you will think of many other examples.
Sometimes, our motives can be unclear and possibly objectionable: we dress to impress, we give to others to make ourselves look good in the eyes of others or to make ourselves feel good, some even befriend to exploit.
Often, our motives to do good can lead to an unexpected reward whereas, occasionally, our motives can be misunderstood, misinterpreted or misconstrued.
There will be those of us who are positively motivated but then fail to complete the action, such is the regret.
The church of Pastor Rodrigo is located in a slum off the Pacific coast of Colombia. One day Costilla, a notorious local criminal, burst into the church screaming and shouting insults whilst brandishing a knife. When Pastor Rodrigo dropped to his knees and prayed, Costilla became confused and ran out of the church. Days later, Costilla broke into the home of the pastor. Costilla had not slept for days and threw himself to the ground at the feet of the pastor and begged for forgiveness. Costilla explained that he had been hired to kill the pastor as he had so many others. The Pastor lifted the weeping criminal from the floor, embraced him and forgave him. Costilla accepted Jesus as his Lord and Saviour.
Photo by Kristina Litvjak via Unsplash
How wonderful how ulterior motives can be changed by God and the Bible identifies a variety of motives which may help us deal with our own motives.
The negative act of placing a silver cup in a bag of wheat by Joseph (Genesis chapter 44) is a means to ensure that his family returns to him.
David had the opportunity rid himself of his enemy, Saul, (1 Samuel chapter 24) but David’s motive was to spare the King who was regarded as the Lord’s anointed, a life David could not take Saul’s life.
In the following Gospel story we have a positive and negative motive side-by-side (John chapter 11) The woman lavishly pours the perfumed oil on the feet and head of Jesus whereas Judas is more concerned for the amount of money that this oil, not for the poor as he suggested, but for his own gain.
The motives of Judas are definitely under the spotlight in the Easter story: he betrays Jesus for money followed by the kiss in the garden. When Judas revisits his motives, there is only one way out.
Peter is also conflicted by his motives: (Luke chapter 22) one minute he promises his unswerving allegiance to Jesus which is shortly followed by denial. How often we can mess up with our motives.
Jesus, on the other hand, has very clear motives which He delivers: He heals the blind and the lame, He sets people free from their sin, He teaches and models the Kingdom lifestyle and He restores us to a relationship with God.
God’s motives are also crystal clear: to forgive us (2 Chronicles chapter 14) to save us (Matthew chapter 1) to redeem us (Acts chapter 13) to love us (John chapter 3) to be gracious to us (Numbers chapter 6).
As believers, what are our motives in our relationship with God?
To be reliable and faithful disciples, channels of blessing for others, ambassadors for God and to honour God with the way we live our lives.
Perhaps spend some time reflecting on your motives and the way you treat those you live with, befriend and in your relationship with God.
You may find the following hymn useful;
May the mind of Christ my Saviour (Mission Praise 463).
You may find the following prayer helpful:
Holy Spirit of God, guide me for I would follow Jesus whole-heartedly. Open my mind and heart to His truth, enliven my imagination to His presence, excite my emotions to His offered love, increase my gratitude for His living, dying and rising and strengthen me in my commitment to serve that my motives may be in line with His will. Amen
God bless you
Signing off: your local Lay-worker, David Hollows