We drove 12 hours from Detroit to Boston to help our daughter and her family pack up for a six month sojourn in Rwanda, Africa. After packing and cleaning, and then more packing and cleaning, we drove 12 hours back to Michigan. True, it was work, but it wasn’t a hardship. It was something we wanted to do for them. It wasn’t demanded or even asked for, we offered – and the offer was appreciatively accepted.
So why did we sacrifice five days out of our lives when we have a to-do list of our own that fills several pages? What was the motivation? It wasn’t because we feared that our daughter would be displeased if we didn’t help her. Rather, we gladly did it out of a heart of love for her and her family. As counterintuitive as it may seem, even though it required sacrifice on our part, there was a delight, even a joy, that we derived from doing something that blessed her – that pleased her.
Which got me to thinking!
Do I do the things that I do, what the Bible calls “good works,” out a fear of displeasing the Lord or do I do them out of a heart of love that delights in pleasing Him? Sometimes when you’ve been a Christian for a while, the good things you choose to do – the good works that are to follow your faith – can slip into being motivated by feelings of obligation and duty. The motivation shifts from a delight in pleasing the Lord to a fear of displeasing Him.
It’s a slight shift but one that makes a profound difference to the Lord. He desires that our “works” be motivated from a heart of love rather than from a spirit of fear. It’s a difference of viewing Him through a lens of judgment and condemnation or a lens of grace and love.
So you see, sometimes I just need to readjust my lens! To focus once again on His great grace and extravagant love for me. What I do may not change, but certainly the “why” will.