What’s Your Motive?

During my days in seminary, I formed a habit that has helped me immensely throughout almost 50 years of pastoral ministry. I had my artistic sister, Luci, print a simple, three-word question on a small rectangular card I placed on the wall above the desk where I spent so much of my time.

Just black letters on a white card, with a bold question mark at the end:

WHAT’S YOUR MOTIVE?

I no longer have the card, but the question is now indelibly etched on my mind. I ask it almost every day of my life. It has proven to be an essential checkpoint I now apply on a regular basis:

  • Why are you planning this?
  • What’s the reason behind your doing that?
  • Why did you say yes (or no)?
  • What is the motive for writing that letter?
  • Why are you excited over this opportunity?
  • What causes you to bring up that subject?
  • Why did you mention his or her name?
  • What’s your motive, Swindoll?

Searching, probing, penetrating questions.

Because the path of servanthood is so perilous, we need to cultivate a sensitive walk with God marked by obedience.

—Chuck

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