The old country preacher Billy Kelly used to tell the story about the time he was hunting and his dogs bayed a huge bear. When Billy got close, the bear saw him and took off after him.
“I took off running as fast as I could go, looking for a tree to climb,” Billy said. “When I finally got to a tree, I tell you, the first limb was at least 10 feet high. I jumped and missed the thing. You know what I did? I caught it on my way down.”
It’s amazing what we can do with the right motivation. I’d imagine we’d be motivated to run fast and jump high with a bear chasing us.
Did you ever stop and examine your motivations for the things you do? Jesus told us that we need to be careful not to do good deeds just to impress folks around us, because if we do, we will have no reward with our Father in Heaven.
Jesus said there are people who want to sound a trumpet to draw attention to themselves when they do something for someone. Obviously, people who do that sort of thing don’t have pure motivations.
Later, Jesus was watching as people put their offerings into the temple treasury. Many of them who were rich put in lots of money, and apparently made sure folks knew about it. Then, a poor widow dropped in two small coins.
“And he called unto him his disiciples and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast more in than all they which have cast into the treasury, for all they did cast in of their abundance, but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living” (Mark 12:43-44).
I envision that poor widow making no show whatsoever when she gave every bit of money she had in this world. She was not pretentious in any way. And Jesus memorialized her through the ages with the mention in the Scriptures. Why? Because her motivation was pure. That widow gave from a pure heart.
This is what I know: People around here are generous givers. They always have been. When they see a need, they meet it. And no one will ever know anything about it. Our neighbors here are nothing like the hypocrites Jesus talked about. They’re more like the widow in that they always give from pure hearts.
We may be able to give generously. We may even be able to jump 10 feet into a tree with a bear behind chasing us. But, whatever great things we do, let’s not seek the applause of men. Instead, let’s be satisfied that the Lord knows and is pleased with us.
You can reach Roger Alford at 502-514-6857 or firstname.lastname@example.org.