“What’s in it for me?”
Undoubtedly this is a crass question, unworthy of our highest efforts.
Really? In human terms the question above speaks of pragmatic self-interest like other common sayings:
- “I’m looking out for number one.”
- “I’m gonna make hay while the sun shines.”
- “The world be hanged! I’m getting mine while the getting is good.”
- “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.”
- “Do unto others before they do unto you.”
Being cold-hearted and profit-driven are often equated in such thinking.
On a higher plane, each of us analyzes our efforts to determine success, failure, or ineffectiveness. The most sophisticated organizations ask very sophisticated questions about what’s in it for them.
The Lenten Season
Self-assessment is a proper and godly thing to do and it is an emphasis in this season. In business, in church, and in daily living, our methods must match our motivations. Because we are fallen, selfishness profit motivations lie somewhere beneath the surface. Prayerfully we root these out, cleansing our motivations from a selfish profit drive to a passion for the advancement of the Kingdom of God.
Jesus spoke in terms of profit in one His most repeated questions.
Mark 8:36-38 NKJV
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?
Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
We judge success in terms of numbers, increase of goods or wealth, acclaim, excellence of product, etc. The profits of the Kingdom of God are counted by spiritual computations. The coinage of the Christ’s Kingdom is not the same as that of the world. Spiritual things that may not register on a cash register or accrue in a bank account, count for much in God’s economy.
Faithfulness to one’s calling is success, regardless of the measurable outcome.
Ask the pastor or missionary who faithfully sow and water the Word with little harvest to show for the effort.
- When he or she enters into the courts of heaven, the angels and saints will stand in silent homage as the faithful one comes before Jesus.
- A hushed heaven awaits the words of Jesus, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” You have been faithful…”
- As soon as the commendation is out or Jesus’s mouth the innumerable company of joyful angels and the gallery filled with those of earth who are now perfect will erupt into praises loud and high sounding, and dance to rhythms that rock the doorposts of glory.
Why? Numbers? Hardly. Money? Not at all. Earthly acclaim? It pales in comparison to the approval of Jesus. It will be the same for all the faithful, not just pastors and missionaries.
May this coming moment of commendation from the Lord Jesus motivate us to a life of faithfulness.
This is true profit.
Mark 8:36-38 NKJV
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
“The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’ “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
1 Corinthians 10:31-33 NKJV
Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ‘ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”
Lord Jesus, You are my reward. Your approval is what matters most in this life and the one to come. I renounce any selfish profit motive in my work. I know that you will provide my needs since I have made Your Kingdom my primary passion. Set me free to do what You call me to do from a pure heart with Your glory as my only goal. Your smile is my motivation, Your joy in me and my work is profit, indeed. Help me measure this life by the values of the next life. In Your Lovely Name, Amen.
Mansion over the Hilltop
Words and Music: Ira Stanphil
1. I’m satisfied with just a cottage below,
A little silver and a little gold.
But in that city where the ransomed will shine
I want a gold one that’s silver lined.
I’ve got a mansion just over the hilltop
In that bright land where we’ll never grow old.
And some day yonder we will never more wander
But walk on streets that are purest gold.
2. Don’t think me poor or deserted or lonely.
I’m not discouraged I’m heaven bound.
I’m but a pilgrim in search of the city.
I want a mansion, a harp and a crown.
© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved