For instance, I can remember a time in which I was walking across the church parking lot and noticed a couple of pieces of trash from the previous night. I was on staff at the time, working a ton of hours, completely dedicated to Jesus – but when I looked at the trash my first thought was “now, why didn’t anyone pick that up – I worked my butt off for this event and for this church – why can’t anyone else do anything around here?!”
And then it hit me – it was like the hand of God slapped me gently upside the head – and God whispered (no, I couldn’t hear His voice – just sensed this in my spirit) “Joe, who are you doing this for?” That was it – who was I doing this for? In other words, was I serving Jesus or was I doing stuff to look good in front of others – or was I doing stuff to make others happy?
Yes, I know it’s good to do unto others. But, when our service for God becomes self-centered to the point that we are doing to look good to others it is out of the wrong heart and bitterness is sure to follow.
I’ve seen this many times in ministry – people take a volunteer ministry position for the right reasons – then after a short time they begin to see what other people are not doing. It’s sort of like the Prodigal Son’s brother (Luke 15)– who on the return of his wayward younger brother throws a fit when his dad gets excited upon his younger brothers return. It’s the problem of a lost focus.
So, we must fight to keep our focus on Jesus. Because it’s not about us – it’s all about Him and becoming more like Him and making His name famous - not our own. By the way, I picked up the trash that day – with a smile and a thankful heart. Serving with the right focus is one of the greatest joys in life! I'm still learning.