Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What Is Your Motive


Acts 4:21-31 The Council then threatened them further and finally let them go because they didn't know how to punish them without starting a riot. For everyone was praising God for this wonderful miracle-- 22 the healing of a man who had been lame for forty years. 23 As soon as they were freed, Peter and John found the other disciples and told them what the Council had said.

24 Then all the believers united in this prayer:

"O Lord, Creator of heaven and earth and of the sea and everything in them--25,26 you spoke long ago by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor King David, your servant, saying, 'Why do the heathen rage against the Lord, and the foolish nations plan their little plots against Almighty God? The kings of the earth unite to fight against him and against the anointed Son of God!'

27 "That is what is happening here in this city today! For Herod the king, and Pontius Pilate the governor, and all the Romans--as well as the people of Israel--are united against Jesus, your anointed Son, your holy servant. 28 They won't stop at anything that you in your wise power will let them do. 29 And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and grant to your servants great boldness in their preaching, 30 and send your healing power, and may miracles and wonders be done by the name of your holy servant Jesus."

31 After this prayer, the building where they were meeting shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and boldly preached God's message.

Psalms 2:1-4  What fools the nations are to rage against the Lord! How strange that man should try to outwit God! 2 For a summit conference of the nations has been called to plot against the Lord and his Messiah, Christ the King. 3 "Come, let us break his chains," they say, "and free ourselves from all this slavery to God." 4 But God in heaven merely laughs! He is amused by all their puny plans.


Peter and John have just been released from prison, so what are the charges? Um… lets see that would be for the hideous crime of healing. Yep, how tragic. God’s mercy and love were extended to a man lame for over forty years and now Peter and John are in prison overnight.

Amazing! The group of leaders that plotted against Jesus for the three years of His ministry are still at it, even though their previous plans had all failed. They made plans over and over again to get rid of Jesus then they finally do get rid of him but it only lasted three days and then Jesus is back and he is still a sore subject that causes “the heathen to rage” (Acts 4:25). Now they are still trying to fight against God, they are still devising their own plans and they are still fighting against the crowds that are convinced that Jesus was God’s son.

The Pharisees still had not checked their motives, but we can not condemn them, you and I know that in ministry it is hard to keep our own ambitions and ego out of the way. We have our sacred cows and we also have our needs for power, position and importance that can get in the way when we are doing good things for God. Any minister or layman (actually we are all ministers, or we should be) should be aware of the danger and trouble that comes from having our motives left unchecked. If we are not careful we can be more offensive to the church and for God’s kingdom than any good that we may have accomplished. Peter and John had to suffer because somebody else was fighting against God, do we cooperate or do we force our church leaders to suffer when we fight against them?


I will check my motives for every ministry that I participate in. Am I making plans that may seem good to me but they may not be God’s plans? Am I feeding my own ego? Any "success" that I may have in ministry must be tempered with humility.


I pray Lord Jesus that I will be cautious in ministry to always work on your plans and not my own. I pray that I will not stir up trouble when I don’t get my way at church or in ministry opportunities that I participate in. Give me clear direction for our mission trip plans that we make for next year.