Is there one right motive for Christian service? In his theory of “Christian hedonism,” John Piper proposes that the pursuit of happiness in God must be the one, true, overruling motive for Christian living, but the Bible teaches that there are many proper motives. Piper says it should not be “duty for duty’s sake, or right for right’s sake” (Desiring God, Kindle location 2134), but he is wrong. It is legitimate before God to serve Him at times just for the sake of duty and doing right. Sometimes that’s all we are left with while living in this sin-drenched world in a “body of death,” and it is not an illegitimate motive or something to feel guilty of. Sometimes I have my daily devotions with God and His Word out of a sense of great passion for Christ; sometimes I do it simply because I know it is necessary for spiritual growth and protection from the devil. Neither of these are wrong motives. For example, in 2 Corinthians 8-9, Paul urges the believers to contribute to an offering for the needy saints who were in the throes of a famine. If Piper was right and if the pursuit of joy in God was the only genuine essence of proper Christian motivation, Paul would indicate this, but he doesn’t. Instead, he offers several different motives that would please God in giving. We are to give ourselves to the Lord (2 Cor. 8:5). We are to minister to the needs of the saints (2 Cor. 8:4). We are to work out the grace of God (2 Cor. 8:7). We are to prove the sincerity of our love (2 Cor. 8:8, 24). We are to follow Christ’s example (2 Cor. 8:9). We are to seek an equality (2 Cor. 8:13-15). We are to encourage the hearts of Christian leaders (2 Cor. 8:24; 9:3-4). We are to be examples to other brethren (2 Cor. 9:2). We are to sow in expectation of a reward (2 Cor. 9:6-10). All of these are proper motivations for spiritual service in giving.
(Friday Church News Notes, August 31, 2012, www.wayoflife.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143)
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