If Ananias and Sapphira were here today, they would be the first ones to tell you that motives matter. Do you remember their story?

Ananias had a piece of land which he sold for a profit. He and his wife, Sapphira, agreed to keep part of the money for themselves, while they gave the rest to the church. This sounded like a noble thing to do. But they gave the impression that they were giving everything. The Apostle Peter saw through their hypocrisy and called them on it. Then God struck them both dead.

God wasn’t impressed by their money. Frankly, He didn’t want it. More than any gift, He wanted their hearts to be right. He cared more about sincerity than silver or gold, and they fell short.

God is more concerned with “why” than “how” or “what” we do for Him. Maybe you have decided to go to Bible college for a few years, but you’re disappointed because you haven’t found the young man or woman you want to marry. Or you could have a job in the church that doesn’t get much attention, and you’re unhappy because you feel you deserve a more important position. Think about your motives. I hope you’re there for the right reasons. God sees your motives. If they’re right, you’ll be blessed. But if they’re wrong, even if you get what you want, you won’t be happy.

Ask God to search your heart today. I hope you’re prepared to change whatever wrong motives He shows you.

The first and the great work of a Christian is about his heart. Do not be content with seeming to do good in “outward acts” while your heart is bad, and you are a stranger to the greater internal heart duties. — Jonathan Edwards

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder