The Lost VirtueIn what common circumstances are you most impatient?
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Is this the time to receive money and clothing, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and cattle, and male and female servants? (v.26).
I leafed through the book, Can’t Be Bought (not the real title). The book told the challenging story of a megachurch pastor who realized he had built his ministry on marketing strategies rather than on Christ’s call. He decided he would no longer cater to the crowd but instead preach the cost of discipleship and let the chips fall where they may. Sadly, the book isn’t good. And on the last page, the publisher—apparently hoping to cash-in on the success of the book—offered T-shirts emblazoned with that catch phrase, Can’t Be Bought.
I shook my head at the cynicism behind such a ploy. How could they attempt to profit from the very marketing gimmicks the book warned against? Was there no shame?
I was wallowing in my self-righteous indignation when I realized that my motives aren’t entirely pure either. I enjoy helping others grow closer to God, but I’m often driven, at least in part, by what I get out of the transaction. I like being liked, and so I like it when others say they like what I’ve shared. If I’m not careful, I can use the gospel as a thinly veiled vehicle to stroke my own ego. If I were more popular, would I be tempted to offer T-shirts with my catch phrase?
In 2 Kings 5, Gehazi saw Naaman’s healing as a chance to cash in. “My master should not have let this Aramean get away without accepting any of his gifts,” he said. “I will chase after him and get something from him” (v.20). Elisha told Gehazi that because he had used his ministry for selfish gain, Naaman’s leprosy would be transferred to him. We should take this insightful story to heart.
Jesus gave His life for you. Don’t use His sacrifice to promote yourself.
Read 2 Corinthians 11:1 to learn how Paul chose not to profit from preaching the gospel.
How can you tell when your motives are pure? What should you do when you discover impure motives?
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