Grace Will Cover Our Motives

This originally appeared as a weekly evo on

Had this great conversation spring up during our Men’s Fraternity small group time yesterday morning which proves two myths wrong.

Myth 1: 6 am is too early for any kind of deep conversation.
Myth 2: Men can’t really talk about deep spiritual matters longer than 10 minutes.

But that’s not the real point I’m trying to make here. The topic is our motives.

When David faced Goliath, was he doing so because he was genuinely concerned about God’s reputation and the future of Israel or was he really that cocky and self-absorbed to think he could do what an entire army of men for 40 days hadn’t done?

My contention? What if both are true? David is a great example. We like think that David was this innocent young boy just standing up for God and had more faith than anyone else in the nation. What if he was just a little on the cocky side, self-absorbed youngest child trying to make a name for himself because he thought his life had a greater purpose than those around him? Or what if there was a little bit of both in him?

We tend to paint people into “either/or” categories concerning their motives. We treat everybody with broad black and white strokes. “She knew that would hurt me and she did it on purpose.” “He knew I wanted that and that’s why he picked it so that it would upset me.” She meant to. He meant to.

We treat everyone like this except for one person – ourselves. When we mess up or have our actions questions, we immediately run to the grey areas. “Well, I meant no harm, I was trying to do this. i was trying to help.”

And most of the time – we are sincerely telling the truth. It’s just funny how that doesn’t always translate over to the other people that we interact with. Shortsighted, maybe?

David let’s us deal with us problem in a removed manner. I don’t think David faced Goliath solely because he was a man after God’s own heart. That wasn’t all that was in David’s heart. See Bathsheba story.

Yes, David WANTED to please God MOST of the time. I believe that. But notice that before David goes out to fight Goliath, he finds out what the reward is from the King. He takes advantage of the opportunity to have a face to face with the King.

And David wasn’t short on confidence either. “I’ve killed the lion and the bear. I’ve beat them both down with my bare hands.” Then he adds – The Lord has delivered them to me. (Don’t take me word for it – read the story – 1 Samuel 17.)

David has both self-less and selfish motives driving him to face Goliath. He is neither an altruistic saint sent to deliver his people nor is he a total self-absorb jerk. It’s there in his words. Yes, I’ve got the skill set to kill this giant. And yes, God has been with me and will be with me in the future. Yes, I can kill this Philistine. Yes, God will deliver this giant into my hands.

Yes, I love my country and my God and want to fight for them both. Yes, I want to know what the payoff is when I win.

It’s both/and, not either/or.

And most of us function the same way. Think of all the different thoughts and angles that go on in our heads when we make a decision? Why do we parent the way we parent? Why do we speak the way we speak? Why are we involved in the things we are involved in? It’s seldom one reason we do anything.

And I think God’s grace covers that. I think he recognizes our heart, sees the general direction we are trying to go and goes there with us. His grace covering our motives, his hands disciplining us back when needed.

Does this make me a cynic on the human race that I don’t think anyone’s motives are 100% altruistic all the time? Does it make David any less of a man of God that he asked how he would be rewarded? Does it detract from God’s glory at all that David had great skill with the slingshot?

I don’t think so. If anything, this is just more evidence of God’s unending grace covers us all – to some extent or another.

And it’s just another reason why I love Him and why I pray daily that He gets the last voice.

But if He doesn’t…I’m praying that God’s grace covers that.

There is pretty good evidence that He does.


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