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So here is the question:


Is it ever okay (non-sinful, decent, respectable) to choose to do something because it will make people think you are great? Is it okay for this to be on your mind when you are deciding whether or not to do something: I wonder if this will make people say about me – “Boy, he’s great!”?


<Okay now, as a favor to me, answer that question in your mind before you read further.

Here’s a completely unrelated picture to look at while you ponder. The answer is below.>



Up until two days ago, I would have said ‘No’, but I would have been wrong. Here’s where you should be thinking – he better have a biblical basis for that declaration. The good news is – I do! And I must say, it surprised me.


Have you ever considered this in Matthew 5:19b?


. . . but whoever does <these commandments> and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.


So here, Jesus, in the sermon on the mount, is telling us that we should obey his commandments and teach others to obey his commandments and the motivation he gives us (in this case) is that if we do so, then later in Heaven people will call us great.


Before you get upset with me, please note that in my original question I was careful to say “Is it EVER okay . . .”.  So to be clear, it may only be Heavenly Declarations of Greatness that are proper motivations for us.


This makes sense to me, because in Heaven, everyone there will be very aware of the True Source of every kind of greatness. And we will know Who is infinitely greater than every other kind of greatness. And that is the person we will worship.


And that God will be worshipped should be our primary motivation in everything we choose to do.


What do you think?


By the way, the picture is completely unfair – Of all of our kids, Barrett is the most likely to have fun with Foster, and Foster is largely a blessedly silent baby.

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February 2009