Monday, August 27, 2012
Pastorgraphs: “Motives Matter”
August 27, 2012
Pastorgraphs: “Motives Matter”
Would you be surprised that researchers have found the reason you do something is as important as doing it?
Apparently, our motives are as important as our actions. A recent study conducted at the University of Michigan shows that WHY people volunteer (not whether they volunteer) is what really counts. The study, published by the American Psychological Association’s Health Psychology, found those who volunteer and give out of pure motives, such as compassion or simply to help others, live longer than those who do not volunteer at all, or who do so for personal benefit, such as getting their picture in the newspaper or personal acclaim.
Even after controlling for variables that influence mortality, such as physical health, the researchers found that motives for volunteering still have an effect on how long and how well we live.
That is not to say volunteers should never expect any benefit for their efforts. But now there is research to show that “pure motives” provide the greatest benefit of all: a longer and happier (less stressful) life.
Motives are an important component of character. While “how we think” and “what we do” are very important, the motives for connecting our beliefs and actions gets to the core of “who we are”. It is a major indicator of our moral fiber.
In The Book of Wisdom, there is a verse that says: “All a man's ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD.” (Proverbs 16:2) NIV.
Mankind sees and judges from outward appearances. That is why we are often surprised, disappointed or even betrayed when the motives of one’s heart becomes public. Abraham Maslow put it this way: “But behavior in the human being is sometimes a defense, a way of concealing motives and thoughts, as language can be a way of hiding your thoughts and preventing communication.”
In the Sermon on The Mount, Jesus said 2000 years ago: “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:2-4) NIV.
Eric Hoffer said it another way: “It is futile to judge a kind deed by its motives. Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind.”
So, what is your motive? If it is to gain something, then you may achieve your reward. But if it is to do the right thing, because it is right, and to do it for the right reason, at the right time and in the right way with excellence, then the doing becomes its own reward.
Your motives reveal your character, and surprisingly enhance your life’s quality and span.
Bless you, one and all, Brother Bill
From the Quote Garden:
“Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.”
~ The Apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 4:5)
Christ United Methodist Ministry Center
“Christ in the Heart of San Diego”
3295 Meade Avenue - San Diego, CA 92116 - (619) 284-9205