26/01/2022 by Rev. Doug Walker 0 Comments
The Greatest of Intentions
As seen in the HEARTbeat and Village Voice
The Greatest of Intentions
We see a great multitude of acts performed daily, some with good intentions, some with indifference, and some with not-so-good intentions. We wonder to ourselves, “Why did they do that?” The answer to this question would reveal the motivation behind the act, or as we’ve heard so much in the news, “The predicate for the action.”
Speaking tongue-in-cheek, we get a great deal of exercise daily. We jump to conclusions, cast dispersions, throw our weight around, and are fast with a response. In all seriousness, we jump to the negative side of trying to figure out one’s intentions. Why? It’s just so easy to do. Think about being called into the boss’ office at 4:30 p.m. on Friday. We will worry and fret all afternoon about what we might have done, might have said, or wrote in an email to someone. But when we get to the boss’ office we find a commendation has been waiting on us with an increase in salary. We might want to strangle our boss for putting us through a gut-wrenching afternoon, thinking they had every intention to fire us on the spot.
If we look close in our daily travels, we can pick up on many acts of kindness. We see doors opened for people such as the elderly or a woman. Why do they do that? Well, the predicate for the action is rooted in respect and kindness. Why does someone wave a person into their lane of traffic who may be stuck in a terminating lane? Again, an act of kindness which may be rooted in past experiences. What about seeing someone pick up a credit card that a shopper in front of them at the checkout stand unknowingly dropped. The predicate again is kindness and respect.
We as Christians have a predicate for doing good things for people and within our churches. When we lead someone to Christ through the Holy Spirit’s guidance, we feel good to have led another soul to Jesus. When we volunteer at a mission feeding the homeless or less fortunate, we feel like we’ve accomplished something for good. When we write a note of encouragement to someone who may be down, God is pleased with our actions. But what is the “predicate” for these actions?
Paul told the people at Corinth, who were new Christians, they had gifts of the Spirit. Many had taken an incorrect view of how these gifts should be used. Some were using their gifts to build themselves up in the eyes of others. Paul didn’t mince words in his corrective letter.
The predicate for serving others and using our spiritual gifts is love. Paul said without love as the reason for using the gift, eventually the desire to use the gift will fade away. But when love is the motivator, the gift cannot fail.
We have the faith in exercising our gift, we have hope our effort will build up the body of Christ, and we grow in love for all mankind. “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”