I’ll admit it: I care what people think about me. Oh, I talk a big game of being my own, strong-willed person who doesn’t mind swimming against the current, but I want people to like me….to be inspired by what I do.
It’s natural, really. I think most people want to be thought well of. Especially us pastors’ wives or women in ministry. People are always watching us….our families…..our choices…..our responses. Most of us are compelled to not only give others something good to watch, but to be the best show in town! Honestly, the world has so many bad examples, and we simply want to model a better way. However, those very natural feelings of wanting to appear good to others can become a tripping point if we aren’t very careful. Concern about what people think can tempt us to merely “act” in good ways without any heartfelt emotion to back it up.
Case in point: Going to church because it’s the right thing to do rather than out of pure desire to worship. Or greeting others warmly in the church parking lot after having a war of words with the kids in the car. (I know, I know. I’m stepping on toes now.) Or, let’s get even more real: shaking hands and hugging necks beside your husband in the lobby while privately engaged in the silent treatment with him.
Guilty as charged…..sometimes!
Jesus continually taught his listeners about His expectations of them in Matthew 6, and chief among them: “Don’t try to impress others.”
Jesus warned us not to do good deeds to be noticed, not to give to those in need to be noticed, not to pray elaborate prayers to be noticed, and not to fast to be noticed. God absolutely wants us to do all of those things, but He desires the right motivation.
Bottom line: our heartfelt obedience is worth more to Him than our legalistic observance.
So, what is our challenge today? To evaluate our true motivations!
Why do we do the things we do? Our answers will reveal whether we are offering God heartfelt obedience or legalistic observance…..or worse yet, a fake performance.
We might discover some areas in our lives that need a quick fix….and others that might require a bit more wrestling. That’s okay! Our lifetime - and our ministry - is our journey of getting to know God better. Just be on the journey!