Why Do We Do What We Do? - Pt. 1 (Not For Praise)
For the next few days, I thought I would reflect a bit on the question, "Why do we do what we do?" It's one of the most important questions that you can ask as a follower of Jesus, but it's one that often gets asked silently, quietly and often after things have gone wrong, not right.
Maybe you've found yourself asking this question when you try to do what's right and it blows up in your face. Or you try to offer grace and peace to someone who refuses to receive it. Or you keep giving and giving to someone who never shows any gratitude.
In those moments you find yourself feeling empty and staring at the wreckage of what you tried to build, perhaps and you ask, "Why do I do what I do?" Or a variation of the same question: "Why do I even try?"
I often find myself asking that question when I am going through a tough season of life or ministry.
There have been more than a few times since I've been a pastor when I've come home and asked Merideth, "Would you love me any less if I decided to just become a Starbucks barista? I mean, I would at least get free coffee once in a while."
When I first started in ministry, I had a friend who had been working in churches for many years give me some sage advice. She told me to think about the sweetest, kindest old lady in my congregation.
"Do you have her in your head?" she asked me. I told her that I did. "That sweet old lady," she told me, "is going to turn on you and stab you in the back." I looked at her with a puzzled and pained expression. "What? Her? No way!"
My friend shook her head. "You have to get your mind around that idea," she told me, "because then you will do this for the right reasons. If you do anything just to please other people, you're doing it wrong."
In his letter to the Colossians, the Apostle Paul addressed this:
"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." (Colossians 3:23-24)The funny thing is, that old lady did turn on me. I didn't see it coming. She called me one afternoon and read me the riot act about a mistake in the church newsletter. She told me I was overpaid, and that I didn't care about anybody but myself.
And I remembered my friends' words in that moment, and I reminded myself (like I have so many times after that) that whatever I do needs to be done with all my heart for Jesus because people will always let us down. And it enabled me to see her a bit more through the eyes of the One who I was truly serving and love her.
May you discover a renewal in your heart and soul for serving Jesus in all that you do. May you determine in your spirit to serve him and put him at the forefront of your intentions each and every day. And may you find grace for those who let you down, and find the courage to love them as Jesus loves them.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.