Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Motivations are funny things. A person may take different actions. He may know why he takes those actions. If another person understood those underlying reason, he might find the actions to be eminently reasonable ... even though he would never take those actions. On the other hand, if he does not understand the reasons, the actions may seem just crazy.

Paul was stoned and left for dead. He was beaten, shipwrecked and imprisoned. He worked hard and earned little either financially or socially. Indeed, he earned mostly disrespect, scorn and insults. Why would a sane person continually live under this pile of abuse? Wouldn’t you think he would decide he is doing something wrong? Do something to alleviate the stress?

I went to a church several years ago with someone who remarked that the church – the particular one we were going to – was filled with wonderful people, but they really did weird stuff. I understood the desire of those in the church to know and obey God. I also can see now that the zeal they showed needed to be tempered with love and wisdom. Mostly wisdom.

Paul said his actions were motivated by his love for Christ. He knew Jesus dies so he could be with God. He knew God will judge all according to their deeds. Our deeds might no longer condemn us, but that doesn’t mean god will be pleased with us. So, Paul sought to please God at all times. And sometimes, he managed to look like a fool doing it.

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