A NOTCH ON THE BELT
For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed. God is witness. I Thess. 2:5
I remember an episode of The Cobsy Show where one of their college age children called home early one evening. Because that particular kid rarely surfaced, Bill Cosby’s first comment after saying hello was, “How much should I make the check out for?” Everyone laughed because adults can usually tell when kids want something. Audiences are pretty savvy, too. They can tell when someone is in the ministry for self-centered reasons.
I remember reading an article some years back about a psychological survey given to 1,000 pastors from various denominational backgrounds. The results were pretty shocking. The test revealed that nearly 80% became pastors because of a need for personal power. The attention they received, standing in front of people Sunday after Sunday, became an addiction.
Paul felt the need to remind his new converts that he was not in it for himself. He was not greedy for recognition or power. The fact that he preached amid persecution proved that. Being assured of no ulterior motives, they could relax in the Gospel.
Many times, an evangelistic campaign falls flat because the people we witness to sense they are just a notch on our belt. They perceive that it’s all about ‘winning another soul’ and they refuse to cooperate. They are people, not trophies. It is easy to treat our children the same way. Do we want them to follow Christ for their sake or because it makes us look like successful parents? What can often sound noble to friends and family has narcissistic undertones. Our kids smell of this hypocrisy as early as their teens.
Every child of God must be aware of his own heart, allowing God to reveal the nature of it to him daily. My own heart will deceive me into thinking that I’m better (or worse) than I am. God will tell me the truth and reveal any jaded motives that exist as roadblocks in my witness to others. May those who hear my message never wonder if they are just faceless people upon whom I feed to fill my voracious appetite.
Every child of Yours deals with conflicting motives. Insisting that I don’t have them is what’s dangerous. Continue to show me myself. Amen