Motives are Essential
Proper motives are essential in Christian service. This is especially true in the giving of our money. The Lord is more concerned with why we give than with how much we give. We must have a right heart attitude. Therefore we should never give in order to receive the praise of others, but because we love God and desire to see His name honored and glorified.
An experience in the life of English preacher and theologian Andrew Fuller illustrates this truth. James Duff, in Flashes of Truth, told of a time when Fuller went back to his hometown to collect money for foreign missions. One of his contacts was an old friend. When presented with the need, the man said, “Well, Andrew, seeing its you, Ill give you five dollars.” “No,” said Fuller, “I cant take your money for my cause, seeing it is for me,” and he handed the money back. The man saw his point. “Andrew, you are right. Heres ten dollars, seeing it is for Jesus Christ.” Duff concluded, “Let us remember, it is not the amount we give toward helping the Lords work; it is the motive He looks at.”
When we have the opportunity to contribute to some worthy Christian cause, may we do so with the right purpose in mind. We should never give just because we feel obligated to organizations or persons, nor because we desire to receive selfish recognition or reward. The apostle Paul said, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give, not grudgingly, or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7). We should honestly say, “Its for the Lord!” - R.W.D.
“Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Col. 3:17).
When I was a boy, I felt it was both a duty and a privilege to help my widowed mother make ends meet by finding employment in vacation time, on Saturdays and other times when I did not have to be in school. For quite a while I worked for a Scottish shoemaker, or “cobbler,” as he preferred to be called, an Orkney man, named Dan Mackay. He was a forthright Christian and his little shop was a real testimony for Christ in the neighborhood. The walls were literally covered with Bible texts and pictures, generally taken from old-fashioned Scripture Sheet Almanacs, so that look where one would, he found the Word of God staring him in the face. There were John 3:16 and John 5:24, Romans 10:9, and many more.
On the little counter in front of the bench on which the owner of the shop sat, was a Bible, generally open, and a pile of gospel tracts. No package went out of that shop without a printed message wrapped inside. And whenever opportunity offered, the customers were spoken to kindly and tactfully about the importance of being born again and the blessedness of knowing that the soul is saved through faith in Christ. Many came back to ask for more literature or to inquire more particularly as to how they might find peace with God, with the blessed results that men and women were saved, frequently right in the shoeshop.
It was my chief responsibility to pound leather for shoe soles. A piece of cowhide would be cut to suit, then soaked in water. I had a flat piece of iron over my knees and, with a flat-headed hammer, I pounded these soles until they were hard and dry. It seemed an endless operation to me, and I wearied of it many times.
What made my task worse was the fact that, a block away, there was another shop that I passed going and coming to or from my home, and in it sat a jolly, godless cobbler who gathered the boys of the neighborhood about him and regaled them with lewd tales that made him dreaded by respectable parents as a menace to the community. Yet, somehow, he seemed to thrive and that perhaps to a greater extent than my employer, Mackay. As I looked in his window, I often noticed that he never pounded the soles at all, but took them from the water, nailed them on, damp as they were, and with the water splashing from them as he drove each nail in.
One day I ventured inside, something I had been warned never to do. Timidly, I said, “I notice you put the soles on while still wet. Are they just as good as if they were pounded?” He gave me a wicked leer as he answered, “They come back all the quicker this way, my boy!”
“Feeling I had learned something, I related the instance to my boss and suggested that I was perhaps wasting time in drying out the leather so carefully. Mr. Mackay stopped his work and opened his Bible to the passage that reads, “Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of god.”
“Harry,” he said, “I do not cobble shoes just for the four bits and six bits (50c or 75c) that I get from my customers. I am doing this for the glory of God. I expect to see every shoe I have ever repaired in a big pile at the judgment seat of Christ, and I do not want the Lord to say to me in that day, Dan, this was a poor job. You did not do your best here. I want Him to be able to say, Well done, good and faithful servant.“
Then he went on to explain that just as some men are called to preach, so he was called to fix shoes, and that only as he did this well would his testimony count for God. It was a lesson I have never been able to forget. Often when I have been tempted to carelessness, and to slipshod effort, I have thought of dear, devoted Dan Mackay, and it has stirred me up to seek to do all as for Him who died to redeem me.
In all the daily tasks we do,
The Bible helps us clearly see
That if the Work is good and true,
Were living for eternity.
To suggest that peeling potatoes offers an opportunity for success would provoke a laugh from most people. Yet one sailor in the British Merchant Navy turned potato peeling into an art. He was a man who believed in doing his best, no matter what the task. Finding himself on KP and facing a huge mound of potatoes, he peeled those potatoes with all the care of a sculptor carving in wood. The eyes and bruised spots were carefully cut away. Cooks on the ships he served began to boast about the clean, smooth spuds he peeled, until his reputation spread throughout the shipping lanes. The ex-sailor became a small businessman in London, supplying select potatoes, peeled to perfection, to the best restaurants in the city. His name will not go down in history. He may never enjoy more than a small but profitable business. But of the millions who have peeled potatoes all over the world, Gerald Pereth was one who saw his opportunity for achievement in doing the job better than anyone else.
The Radish Lady
About six years ago, I was speaking at a luncheon held in the civic auditorium of a city in Oklahoma. I settled myself at my place at the head table. I picked up my fork and noticed that two rose-petaled radishes adorned my salad plate. Someone had take the time to pretty up two radishes, just for me. Then I noticed that each salad at the head table had two neatly curled radishes. I turned to the lady sitting to my right. “Im impressed by the radishes, “ I said. “Youre impressed by what?” she asked. “The radishes,” I said. “Look, each salad plate at our table has curled radishes.” “Yes,” she said, exercising a questioning smile. “Theyre pretty.” “Theyre more than pretty,” I said. Someone took special care to do these.” “Dont they all have them?” she asked, gazing out at the tables.
I looked and was astonished. Each salad plate was adorned with two curled radishes! “They are curled! That took a lot of time!” “Im not on the planning committee, but Gertrude is,” my table mate responded. She turned to get the attention of Gertrude, three chairs down. “Mrs. George wants to ask you something about the radishes, “she whispered. “The what?” Gertrude mouthed “The RADISHES!” “Is there something wrong with your radishes?” she asked. “No. They are fine. I just thought it was nice to have them all curled.” “Oh, Marietta does those.” “All of them?” I knew the head count in the room and was astonished. “Thats almost eight hundred radishes!” “Yes, but Marietta wants to do it. Would you like to meet her? Shes in the kitchen.” So Gertrude and I went into the kitchen, and there I met Marietta, the lady of the radishes. “Gertrude tells me you curled all those radishes. Theyre lovely. Each salad looks so festive.” “I dont mind doing it. It just takes time,” Marietta replied. I didnt know what more to say so I left. Later, I spoke, and there was an encouraging response. Afterward, ladies scurried past me with murmured greetings, and a few lingered to speak of God in their lives. When we finished, it was raining heavily so we hurried across the parking lot to the car. Through the rain, I could see a lady, carrying a large polka-dot umbrella that had collapsed on one side waiting by our car. It was Marietta! She was smiling as though we had found her on a sunny day in an especially delightful garden.
“I had to see you. I heard your speech. It was good!” she said. “I have to go home now.” I slipped inside the car. Marietta crouched down close to the window and called to me, “Just remember this. You keep telling people about Jesus, and Ill keep curling the radishes.” The rain and my tears splattered the picture of her face as we started to back out of the driveway. Ah, dear Marietta, I havent forgotten. We are to do our jobs in the love of him who does all things well.
The old plumber was admonishing his young helper, who was always taking coffee breaks. “When I was an apprentice,” he said, “we used to lay the first two lengths of pipethen the boss would turn on the water and wed have to stay ahead of it.”