“Did We Not?”
It is possible, Jesus here affirms—and Paul confirms when he said “If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:3)—to do the right things for the wrong reasons with the result that, while our actions may help someone else, they say nothing good about us and may in fact say something very bad about us, namely that we are willing to (mis)use the name of Jesus to call attention to ourselves and to gain acclaim for ourselves.
We do know, though, based on the teachings of Jesus, that if our hearts have been touched, changed, and influenced by the grace and love of God, we will be led to do good things, especially to touch the lives of others for good by giving ourselves away with no thought of what we’ll get out of it.
We also know, on the other hand, based on the teachings of Jesus, that it is possible to do good things, even the kinds of things that will help other people, but not have those acts motivated by hearts that are full of grace and love.
O God, help us to examine our hearts and our actions to see if what is true of us externally is also true of us internally and vice-versa.
May everything about us be the result of your grace and love working in and through us.
May we, in other words, be blessed with integrity.
“On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’” (Matthew 7:22-23)