One day I was scrolling away on my iPhone when I received a text from Casey, one of the friends I met on campus a year or so ago through a Christian organization. The text read something along the lines of, I was thinking of you and I was wondering if you’d like to apply as a volunteer for a Christian youth day camp. – Casey. The day camp Casey was referring to provided an opportunity to be a paid volunteer that travels to different cities in Michigan in order to mentor elementary school children and teach them about the word of God. Although I replied to Casey’s text by asking for more information about the position at the camp, I admit that I originally didn’t have much interest in the job offer from the start. By all means the position did seem promising, based on what I had read about it so far, but at the same time I didn’t feel led to accept Casey’s offer.
But after weighing my pros and cons about the matter, it hit me. Although I wasn’t getting any sense of spiritual guidance about the matter, I considered the fact that volunteering at a day camp such as the one Casey suggested would open the door to gaining more Christ-like connections with fellow volunteers. Even though the experience of teaching little kids about God could be a life-changing experience in itself, I admit that I was most attracted to the job by the kind of volunteers I thought would be present there. This job got me thinking: A Christian day camp means lots of Christian volunteers around my age, and a greater chance of befriending like minded young adults like myself. Not only will I be mentoring young kids, but better yet, I’ll have a chance to socialize with people who are more like me spiritually. Maybe I’ll meet a lot more friends there, or maybe I’ll meet my Godly future husband at that! Who knows what could be in store for me at the day camp! These were the kinds of sales-pitchy thoughts that were on replay in my mind as I decided whether or not to accept Casey’s offer.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33 NIV
The more I thought of my personal gain about the situation, the more I spiraled into making the volunteer position less about kids being led to Christ and more about me. I had to ask myself – Am I doing this for the socialization aspect of the job and would I be just as excited about the mentorship alone? I decided to decline Casey’s offer and thanked her for letting me know about it anyway. Situations like the one at hand serve as good reality checks.
As daughters of God we are called to serve Him first and foremost. Whatever secondary benefits that come with that servitude are blessings in disguise that go along with choosing to submit to Him above all else. We shouldn’t give into our flesh by focusing only on what we get out of the deal. That kind of thinking steers us away from not only being a blessing to others for the glory of God, but also causes the motives behind what we do for Christ to become twisted and contorted. If we always focus on ourselves, and disguise our twisted, contorted motives as “kingdom work,” we will not be in a position to receive the abundant harvest God has in store for our lives.
Have you ever placed what your flesh yearns for above what God desires for your life? Have you ever considered accomplishing a “good deed” for reasons that didn’t directly point back to the Lord? Today, ask God to set your heart on what glorifies Him and what makes him happy–not vice versa. If we teach ourselves to honor God through our good deeds, the rewards and blessings he’ll give us in the long run could never hold a candle to what we try to accomplish for ourselves alone.