Consider Our Motives

Donald P. Ames
Aurora, Illinois

Rather than an appeal to the authority of the Word of God for a justification for many of the programs engaged in today, instead we hear the appeal to consider the motives involved. They justify the Herald of Truth solely on the basis of the thousands in need of the gospel, the various orphan homes on the needy children, universal benevolence on the good accomplished, etc. It is indeed pathetic to see those once in close relationship with God abandon such l wonderful relationship to travel the road of apostasy and the social gospel. Much could be said for motives in our actions. Certainly we can do the right job and have the wrong motive and not be pleasing to the Lord. What we engage in must be done with conviction and motivation or it is a wasted effort. Unless we are motivated by a concern for the lost, something is wrong with our claims of being Christians.

On the other hand, motivation without authority is equally repulsive to the Lord. In I Sam. 15 the story is related of the instructions given king Saul to destroy all the Amalekites and their belongings. King Saul set out and accomplished the desire of the Lord  except he preserved King Agag and the best of the animals to return to the land of Israel. When confronted with the evidence by Samuel, he too appealed to very fine motives: "They have brought them from the Amalekites . . . to sacrifice unto Jehovah thy God" (I Sam. 15:15). Nothing wrong with that, now is there? To worship God is right and commendable, and surely Samuel would not object to a slight violation for such a glorious motive. But Samuel replied, "Hash Jehovah as great delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of Jehovah? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as idolatry and seraphim. Because thou hast rejected the word of Jehovah, he hath also rejected thee from being king" (I Sam. 15:22-23).

No, no one objects to the fine motives involved in desiring to care for the needy and orphans or to preach the gospel of Christ to the lost. But this is not the issue under consideration. The issue is shall we let the church do its own work in God's patterns, or shall we rebel and institute our own ways and justify it by our own motives? Shall we turn the work of God's church over to human institutions and shall we activate the universal church and centralize our work through a human head? Do we wish to hear our own doom in the terms of Matt. 7: 22-23 "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles? And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.

TRUTH MAGAZINE X: 7, p. 1 April 1966