“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” Matthew 7:21-23
When most of us read this, we do not think of ourselves, instead we think of those that seek the glory for themselves and not for Christ. And that is what Jesus is talking about. Those who seek to glorify their own lives for the cause of Christ will not receive the blessings of heaven. But I believe this goes deeper than that. I believe that our motives behind our works will also be brought before Jesus in that day. And in that day, what will He say about all that we have done for Him? Will He say He never asked us to do some of the things we did? No matter how great and wonderful the work was, was it motivated by Him or was it motivated by our own desires?
What motivates us to serve God? Is it our own desires that make us want to teach Sunday school? Is it a deep desire to be noticed and praised that motivates us to lead a study in our home? Is it a title or recognition of being a super Christian that makes us want to serve so diligently in our churches? What motivates us is as important as what we are doing. For if our motivation for serving God is anything other than His glory- then all our labors are in vain. Some of the greatest Christians to ever live are the ones that serve without notice. When we get to heaven, I bet we will be amazed at how many of our brothers and sisters in the Lord are wearing crowns of glory and receiving multitudes of rewards, yet we never heard of them while on earth.
I am not saying that having a name or a title is bad. But what is the motive behind that title, behind that name, why do you do what you do for Christ? That is what matters most, I believe. Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:1-3 that whatever we do we are to do it in private. He tells us that we should take heed to ourselves that we do not do our charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Because when we do this, we will receive no reward. “Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, that they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.” (Matthew 6:2-3)
Jesus is not telling us to stop doing good works. But we need to make sure before we step out and do a good work that we pray and seek the motives of our hearts behind the goodness that we want to do. If we seek to do anything openly, then we are most likely seeking to do it for our glory and not His. Jesus sends us out to tell others about Him, to proclaim the goodness of His grace into the darkness of this world. But when we do this, we must seek to do it privately, in secret, and not proclaim how great we are at doing it, or tell everyone we can about what we have done.
When I go around proclaiming how I serve here, I do this for this person, I did that for this woman, I have taught, proclaimed and led many to Christ- what do you think my reward will be from my Father in heaven? Nothing- I have my reward because I have received praise, honor and glory from others. Our motives for serving God should be for His glory and for His praise. He sees what we do, and He knows why we do them. Before we serve, before we do anything in His name, I pray we would seek His guidance and allow Him to search our hearts to show us the motives behind why we do what we do.
This has been a hard lesson for me these past few days. I am much like Peter. I am impetuous and I like to just get it done. But, if I am not doing it for Him and for His glory, than I am doing it for myself and I will not receive the blessings of His grace in the end. May we all come to see and realize the motives behind our serving and seek to please Him and Him alone in all that we say and do. To God be the glory through Jesus Christ our Lord, amen and amen.