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Monday, Motives and Mordecai

There are times when doing good feels easy. When going the extra mile is a pleasure, and brightening someone's day is an exciting mission that brightens our own in the process. When doing something good, thinking of someone else before ourselves, feels more like a privilege than a challenge and comes with a tidy blessing to top it off. Obviously, those times are great.

I wish I could say it's always easy to put myself aside, but it's not. Sometimes when I'm faced with the opportunity to do something good, something that involves stepping a little out of my comfort zone, or infringing on that precious personal time, I find myself fighting a mental battle between conscience and human selfishness. I know what Jesus would do, but I'm just so tired... I know that would be a good thing, but I have so much work to get done... I helped out last week, so I've done my part....

Yeah, yeah. Excuses, excuses.

It's easy to do good when it comes with a prize. Gifts, praise, thanks, affirmation, even the promise of blessings from God. But that shouldn't be the motivation. I'm reminded of Mordecai in the story of Esther: he was a captive in an enemy country, surrounded by enemy citizens, working for an enemy king. He thwarted an assassination attempt on that king's life if for no other reason than that it was the right thing to do. He didn't expect a reward, and didn't receive one- at least, not right away. It was an act of goodness for the sake of goodness- not for physical rewards or spiritual blessings, but because that's the kind of person God called him to be.

It's also the kind of people God calls us to be.

It's true that when we do good, it may not always come with a tidy compensation for our time, our efforts, or our resources. And even though we are absolutely promised spiritual blessing for doing good, even that shouldn't be the motivation. We should do good because Jesus asked it of us- because he is good, and we are striving to be like him. We should do good because that, in the end, is what matters more than anything else we do with our time. Our time belongs to God, after all. We don't own it. It's His.

I'm thankful for the reminder of this calling, a little nudge from heaven to point my focus away from myself and back to the real purpose. Today, let's do good not for the hope of blessings, but for the sake of good, and for the love of God!

(Cover picture: created using the Bible app)

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