We’ve been talking about how our Ugly Christmas Sweaters can be just as annoying and attention-getting as our Ugly Thoughts, which become Ugly Words. Now we are talking about Ugly Motivations, that end up becoming Ugly Actions.
Motivations are all about the big WHY…actions are about the WHAT (more on that next time!)
Ugly motives means that we do the right thing for the wrong reason, and I suppose the converse is true, we could have good motives and do the wrong thing for the right reason. But for this post, it’s all about our ugly motives.
Social media is all about motives. Generally, when posting, people are either trying to gain your admiration or sympathy. People are either trying to brag or trying to make you feel sorry for them. There is a third category: Pot-stirring. There is a whole different wing for that.
Any time I post about my kids or my garden or the sweet lines in my grass or beautiful scenery, you better believe that is all about me bragging! I didn’t say it was a good thing…I’m just illustrating a point about motives.
Each of us make decision in our lives based on different motivations. It is important for us to pay attention to our motives because they can result in us blessing others or result in us only focusing on ourselves.
Doing the Right Thing for the Wrong Reason
Ugly motives can take our reputations throw them right into the Salvation Army red kettle. There are tons of opportunities to serve and give and meet needs this time of year but if our motivation is to be seen and heard, then that is all the reward we will receive.
Jesus says that praise from humanity is the full reward that we will get when that is our goal. It seems that there is a greater reward available when we serve others without the need for recognition.
Rather than getting applause, or Facebook likes or IG hearts, someone who serves in humility develops a character that is worth far more than the praise of people. Doing the right thing for the wrong reason can cost us our ability to grow in to the person we are created to be.
Historical Jesus Is a Good Example for Motivation
Ugly Christmas sweaters are designed to do one thing and they do it really really well: draw attention to ourselves.
When Jesus is our motivation, the deep desire within us is to draw attention to Him.
When we serve others it becomes easy to say we are doing this only because Jesus first served us.
When we love others it becomes easy to say we doing this because Jesus loved us.
We take the spotlight off ourselves and place it right on Jesus, the true hero. He is our true motive.
It’s Not a Competition
One reason we fight ugly motives is because we find ourselves in competition for attention and accolades.
Rivalry is a mentality of the world and has no place in the hearts of people of faith and yet it can be a core motivation.
We are not in a competition with one another. Instead, we ought to cheer one another on and push each other forward out of love. So let’s stop living as ugly Christmas sweaters with ugly motives focused on ourselves.
Choose one person to do something kind to as a way of honoring Jesus and honoring them. Here’s the key…it needs to be done anonymously. Whatever way you choose to bless them, do not let them know it was you. Allow your motivation for service to be Jesus rather than recognition.
Send them a letter, card, gift card, have dinner delivered, gift on the doorstep, meet a need…whatever it is. And as you’re doing it, remember the words, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”