The Northfield

  2535 Shore Road

  Northfield, NJ 08225


Church of Christ




Be Good For Goodness Sake

"When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting" (Matt. 6:18).

The devotional today is not about fasting (or Santa Claus is Coming to Town), but maybe about the proper fasting motive. Actually it is about proper motive(s) period. Last night at our mid week Bible study one of our young men led the prayer between our singing and study. Public prayers are difficult because we are aware of the people present. He is 17 and the prayer was simple, eloquent, and unpretentious. I know he didn't want to embarrass himself by stumbling or bumbling, and that he wanted his prayer to sound good, but mostly he prayed form his heart. Ahhhhhhhh...How the young will often show us the right way. Prayers are not made to give God a summary of our previous week's activity. God's stern admonition to the Pharisees about this is clear and to the point..

In all areas of our life we ought to do things for the right reasons. Sometimes some of the things we do, if done well, will impress others. This is OK as long as we do not become intoxicated with the praise. God may look at the size of the check that we put into the collection plate each week, but moreover, He looks into our heart to see if we are giving for the right reasons..Who cannot think of the small but enormous gift of the widow in Mark 12:41-44. As the rich men threw large amounts into the offering plate, they were aware of those watching so that all would all see their "generosity." Jesus again looked into the heart. We don't have to give all that we have, we just need to give all that we think God deserves. Remember, under the old law the people were obliged to give in sacrifice the very best of their animals...Those without spot or blemish..

Maybe every once in a while it is a good thing to look inwardly at our motives just to see that we are of the right mindset. The Bible is filled with examples of people with improper motives. The kiss of Judas (Matt. 26:49), Herod's commission to the wise men (Matt. 2:7-16), and the gift of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-10) are just a few examples. Self/check time!! If we stop doing good when the praise stops...bad motive! If we'll work as long as we are in the lead....bad motive! If we serve just for the earthly advantages...bad motive! If even church attendance is to put in an appearance...bad motive! We ought to do indeed do right for no other reason than because it is right...Just an "add on." Right in the Lord's eyes...

Have a wonderful day....Go about doing good.... Love mark Phil. 4:11

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