Thursday, June 7, 2018

Weighing Motives

All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight,
But the Lord weighs the motives. Proverbs 16:2 NASB)

We can feel pretty good about the things that we do, but we often do not understand why we do what we do.  It is possible to give with your hand but not your heart.
In my job, we often share the workload.  When one person is down in their caseload, others are often asked to share their cases to keep that person working.  Not long ago I was asked and gave away several of my cases.  I did not really want to lose them, but for the good of the project, I knew this is what I should do.  Recently, I had some medical bills and other extra financial expenses, which wiped out all of the funds I had put away for a rainy day.  At the same time, the bottom dropped out of my workload. I was told that there were some cases possibly available for me to work.  In the end, they were given to someone else.

I started feeling a little sorry for myself.  I felt like I had given up my cases and now when I had a need, there was nothing for me.  I started thinking that if I had not given up my cases, I might not have found myself in this dilemma.  I was in a downward spiral.  Then one morning in my daily reading the verse above in Proverbs hit me right between the eyes.

God was weighing my motives, and I had been tested and found wanting.  What I had given with my hand, I had started to take back in my heart. The universe does not revolve around me. God’s sovereign choices are made including my needs but exclusive to them.  Possibly, someone else needed the cases more than me. Or God in his infinite wisdom assigned the work without regard to need.  God always has the right to choose as he pleases.  What was my response?  God, forgive me, I thought and concluded before I saw it from your perspective.  Purity of motive may only come when we first have the humility to admit that we do not have it.

Image used with permission by Microsoft.

Ken Barnes the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing

Monday, June 4, 2018

Thank You

Let me relate to you a somewhat embarrassing little story.

Yesterday morning I was in the drive-thru lane at a local Chic-fil-A.  On Saturday morning, I sometimes pick up a couple of breakfast sandwiches for my wife and myself.  As I approached the young lady who was taking orders that morning, I reached for my wallet.  To my dismay, I did not have it.  There were four cars in back of me, and several in front of me. There was nothing I could do.  I had to wait to get out of the line.  I approached the smiling young lady on foot taking orders and told her that I forgotten my wallet and just needed to go through the line.  She said, “that’s ok, I’ll check for you. What did you want?” She went to the pay station, and I saw the guy working there nodding his head.  He waved me through they gave my food and said, “have a nice day.”

I arrived home and started to tell my wife what had happened. She looked at me strangely, and said, “you didn’t use the card that I gave to you?”  I said, “oh no” and reached into my pocket and there it was.  I thought to myself, this is just like God, even when you mess up big-time, he gives you grace.

Knowing how all this had happened, I knew that I had to go back and try to pay for the food.  I told a young lady behind the counter the story and that I wanted to repay them. She said you don’t have to do that.”  I said, “I know, but I want to repay you.”  She called her supervisor, and she said, “don’t worry about it, we do it all the time.”  I thought to myself, again, this is like God, we can never repay him for all that he has done for us.  All I could say was thank you.

The next day at church, as I led Communion, I told the congregation this story.  I expressed to them that as we ponder this free gift of salvation that we can never repay, maybe the only thing God requires of us is a thankful heart.

With the generosity as I just described, is it any wonder why this company has been blessed in the way that they have. Thank you, Chic-fil-A.

Image with permission by Microsoft.

Ken Barnes the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing

Friday, May 25, 2018

The High One Lives with the Lowly

For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy,
“I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly And to revive the heart of the contrite.
Samuel Brengle
 (Isaiah 57:15 NASB)

Isaiah describes what has always been and always will be the path to God.  The Lord hears the plight of the humble.  The way up is always down. 

In many Christian circles, unfortunately, there is a belief that to gain the favor of the Lord, you have to achieve the high or exalted place in our spiritual pursuits.  From our scripture, it appears that just the opposite may be true.  God takes note of the lowly with a contrite heart.

General William Booth was the founder of the Salvation Army.  He was known for raising up godly leaders.  At one point in time, prominent Pastor, Samuel Brengle, from a large church in the US came to England to join the mission.  The Pastor was a little surprised by the first job Booth gave him.  He told him to go down to the cellar and blacken (shine) the boots of the other recruits.  It was not long before he was wondering what a successful pastor was doing shining shoes.  Brengle was having second thoughts about his decision to join Booth’s mission.  Then suddenly in his mind’s eye, he saw Jesus washing the disciples’ feet.  “Lord”, he whispered, “you washed their feet, I will black their shoes.” This man eventually rose to the level of Commissioner in the Salvation Army.

Are you walking so high God does not see you? The way up is always done.

Image used with permission by Microsoft,

Ken Barnes the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing