Four years ago I was invited to speak at a small youth conference in Dallas, Texas. I had only surrendered to preach 2 short years ago. So being invited to speak at this event was a big deal to me. I was very flattered. I prepared for three sessions. I put lots of thought into each talk. I even used movie clips to go along with my messages. I was ready to go. I was about to knock the socks off of this church; it’s youth workers, and students. I was thoroughly prepared.
I BLEW IT! It was one of the biggest failures of my ministry. Why? My motives for the weekend reeked of arrogance and pride.
The church was old, traditional, and the youth group at the time was not doing well. I was 21 years old, had just started building a student ministry that began with zero students, I was a bible college student, and was working at a young relevant church. I knew exactly what I was doing and knew exactly what the church I was speaking at needed to do. At least I thought I did. I have never been invited back. I believe God was genuinely trying to use me, but I mishandled the opportunity.
This summer I was invited to speak at a youth camp in Arkansas. There were about 300 people at this camp. The auditorium was full every night. I prepared thoroughly. I prayed a lot. I thanked God for the opportunity to be used by him. I thanked the directors for having me at the camp. I preached truth. I spoke with conviction. I spoke bluntly. I spoke of changes that needed to take place in churches and in student’s lives.
I think I hit a grand slam! 13 accepted Christ! I was encouraged and thanked by the campers all week long. I was told how much they enjoyed and appreciated me. Why? My motive was right. I was grateful for the opportunity and genuinely wanted to speak God’s truth into the lives of the campers. I have received several emails from those that attended the camp letting me know how much they enjoyed my talks.
What was the difference between the two speaking engagements? My Motive.
People can sense whether your motive is pure or selfish. Your motive matters.
When you are trying to correct or teach your kids, what’s your motive? Are you trying to correct them because you want to appear to be a parent that has it all together? Or are you genuinely trying to point your kids to the Lord’s direction for their lives.
When you are communicating with others at work, what’s your motive? Are you just trying to use them to get the results you want? Or do you value them and the ability that they bring to your team?
When you communicate with your parents, what’s your motive? Are you just trying to get what you want? Or do you genuinely value their love and what they are able to contribute to your life?
When you speak tough truth to others in your life, what’s your motive? Do you just want to fit them into your mold? Or are genuinely wanting them to discover God’s purpose for their life?
When we communicate with others, our motives matter. It’s our motives that will often determine the success we will have with others in the moment and over time.
And guess what? People see our motives better than we do.
Aim for a pure and genuine motive. It matters.