The Christian Public Servant – “motives behind actions”

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May 21, 2018 – Monday


Mark 9:38-41 [NIV] “Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.”


Every now and then, I get to serve at a spiritual retreat. It’s one of the few times I feel I am doing what the Lord wants as I become a living sacrifice poured out for the sake of others. I spend weeks with the team preparing to ensure everything goes well so the participants experience the love of God in a new and exciting way.

After a recent retreat, accusations were expressed that the team had sown seeds of discord in God’s Kingdom. I would not worry so much if this complaint was leveled at me alone, but I feared the unchallenged accusation would hurt this very worthwhile ministry. I wanted to defend.

While scripture shows the disciples had that same concern, it also shows that actions need not be defended. Jesus told them that motives behind actions count. God can use whatever we do, regardless of how poorly we do it, to reach others for His purposes. We therefore should be very careful before criticizing others who are also working for His Kingdom. When motives behind actions are true to serving Him, then those people are with us.

You don’t have to be at a Christian retreat for such criticism to occur. Even at work, one Christian’s actions may start other Christians to question and criticize. Poor advice given to a coworker. A bad breakroom conversation. A sour meeting about budgets or personnel. After-work parties. However, if the motive is true, the actions require no defense.

Today at work, do not get in the way of other Christians. Never stop what He would want them to do – regardless of how the actions are perceived. Remember, when motives behind actions are true to Him, let them serve that cup of water in His name.


Dear Lord, help me think before I speak about what others are doing for Your Kingdom. At work today, let me see with Your eyes how they are helping You in Your ministry. Prevent me from becoming an obstacle in what they are doing. In Your precious name, I pray. Amen.

Stan Best
Training Manager
Apprentice School
Newport News Shipbuilding
Newport News, Virginia USA

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