What motivates you?
What do you think motivated Mary to anoint Jesus' feet? What motivated Judas to criticize her?
Some people say, “You can judge the actions of others but you can’t judge their motives.” I am not for sure about that statement because sometimes you really can’t judge someone’s actions and sometimes you absolutely judge their motives.
You might could think Mary anointed Jesus feet because of guilt, fear, greed, selfishness, or a dozen different other reasons, but to me it seems quite obvious, she anointed Jesus simply out of gratitude and love.
Judas’s motives in stating that the money could have been used for the poor could have been out of a sincere heart that he cared for the poor, and even though he loved Jesus deeply, he was simply curious on why Mary didn’t think about using the money it cost for the ointment.
See what I mean? Maybe not always but sometimes you can discern what people’s motivations are.
What about you?
The reason why they call it Black Friday is because it many cases businesses operate in the “red” or with a negative bank balance until the day after Thanksgiving. When shoppers come in and buy for Christmas, finally they make a profit and have a positive bank balance.
So what does that have to do with motivations and discerning people’s motives in what they do? It depends on what you think about Good Friday.
What motivates you to do what you do? When you walk by a Salvation Army Kettle and hear a bell ringer, are you giving because you really care about the poor? Do you give out of guilt? Do you give because you want to make the poor happier? Do you want to make God happy?
To really discern your motivation, you have to go to the cross of Jesus. On that Good Friday, what happened? He died on the cross for you. He gave you eternal life absolutely free. He truly rescued you from a life of sin, followed by an eternity of judgment, condemnation and damnation. He literally became the whipping boy of your sin’s punishment.
Do you believe that? That you were so miserably sinful that it took the horrific crucifixion of Christ to take away your sins so that you could spend eternity free of guilt? Or do you sometimes think you have to help God out in absolving your sin?
It is difficult to discern the motives of others, but what about your own? Do you wash Jesus’ feet out of love and sacrificially give to Him or others with pure motivations?
Before Good Friday, you were in the red spiritually. You were so desperately bankrupt that you could never climb out of your debts of sin. But with Christ’s deposit of His righteousness into your account, you suddenly were reconciled in God’s bank ledger.
You no longer have to worry about “going under” in your account. You have God’s absolute forgiveness because of Jesus going in the red by shedding his blood for you. Your motivation should not be that you want to pay God back, or somehow earn your kazillion dollars He placed in your account…you can never repay the price Jesus paid on the cross.
But like Mary, you can have a thankful heart. You can give to the poor always even when there is no bell ringer making you feel guilty. You can live your life as a thank you card back to the Lord, not to earn what He did, or to make you look better to others or even to earn a jewel in your crown when you get to heaven.
You can be motivated because you know you’ve been forgiven, that you are loved. Because you know that you are a child of the King and you’ve been given all the riches of the universe when you were given God’s spirit of adoption in your heart.
Pray this prayer to God: Abba Daddy, help me to live like a King’s Kid. Help me remember who I am and whose I am. Let every act I do be in the spirit of gratitude and desire to simply love as I have been loved by you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.