Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Right Agenda

"Yes, the law permits a person to do good on the Sabbath!"
                                                                           Matthew 12:12

It seems rather obvious to me that it is a good thing to do good things on the Sabbath, but Jesus had plenty of run-ins with the Pharisees because he healed on the Sabbath. The Pharisees were consumed with paying attention to the law, but Jesus was more inclined to pay attention to people. I know I am often guilty of being more focused on agendas and structure than observing the needs of people around me. In this way, I am more like the Pharisees than I would like to admit.

Structure and order are good until they become the goal of my life. When I fail to attend to the needs of others because doing so is not part of my day's agenda, I have made my agenda my god. In the parable of the good samaritan, this is likely what the priest did when he passed by without helping the man who was robbed and beaten by bandits. He probably had people expecting him at a certain time and to take the time to help the injured man would cause him to be late. The expectations of others and my own desire to meet those can take precedence over God's plans for me if I am overly focused on my agenda.

I must ask myself--is my concern for meeting the expectations of others driven by my love for them or is it driven by my own desire for approval? Is my motivation to glorfy God or to be praised by people? Catherine of Siena observed that all evil is rooted in self-love, so it's useful for me to examine my motives in meeting the expectations of others.

I need to consider if my service to others is motivated by my love for them or by love for myself. If I seek recognition and approval for what I do, even if my feelings are hurt when I am not thanked, then my service is not a response to my love for God and for others, but is only a way to feed my ego. If this is the case, my service does not honor God. Others may be helped, but the cause of Christ is not furthered when lack of appreciation bothers me. If I am motivated out of the overflowing love I have for God, it won't matter if anyone even knows what service I've rendered. My only desire will be that Christ is glorified and others feel God's love through me. It doesn't even matter that the recipient of my service is ungrateful if I am acting out of love for that person.

I hope I can remember that when my feelings are hurt because my actions have not been appreciated my motives for service are not what they should be. I want to be one who can serve motivated only by my love for Christ and others. That's an agenda worth having!

No comments:

Post a Comment