Summary: There is a danger in doing the right thing for the wrong reason. We must make sure we are doing the right things for the right reason.
Text: Matthew 20:20-24
To bring this text before you today in the manner in which I am commissioned will not be an easy task. In fact, the subject matter in this message will perhaps be different from most messages on this text. A few of the message titles I came across for this text were "A Mother’s Love," "What A Mom," and "A Mother’s Dream." That even more so challenged me with the content of this message.
I want to use this passage and talk to you about "The Danger Of Doing The Right Thing For The Wrong Reason." It seems odd, even unreasonable, but there is the hint in the text that gives implication that it was, and is, a reality.
Elsewhere in Scripture, the Bible gives evidence that her name was Salome. She was Zebedee’s wife, and the mother of two of the disciples - James and John, known to some as "The Sons Of Thunder."
I do not intend on portraying her as an extremely sinful woman, but I seek to show you that her intentions and methods were not what they should have been. And then we will seek to learn from her life, and adjust our own lives to implement and maintain God-pleasing characteristics.
To deal with this subject we will have to move beyond the sphere of actions, and delve into the arena of MOTIVES. There are things in this text that I think can help us in the area of motives, which is not dis-cussing what we’re doing, but rather why we’re doing it.
Let me give you a definition of the word motive - The sense of need, desire, fear, etc. that prompts an individual to act or begin movement. Now, there is nothing wrong with motives, when they are properly aligned. Every action we participate in is fueled by motives. But when motives become misaligned, there are major problems that can occur.
And when there comes an intertwining of good actions with wrong motives, we call that having an ulterior motive. That is, the reason behind your good action is not pure. It is not what it appears to be. And I see this in the text before us today. The name Salome means clothing or clothed. And clothing, like motives, can be good or bad. It is used to protect and shield, providing a covering for the wearer.
But clothing is also used to conceal, to hide. Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 7:15, as He issued a warning to be on the lookout for wolves in sheep’s clothing. Simply put, they are not what they appear to be. their true identity is concealed, so they might sway the circumstances in a favorable position.
And Salome’s name meaning clothing, looked at in the concealing sense, is interesting when you look at the events taking place in this text. Look at what the text says. "Then came the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, WORSHIPPING him, AND desiring a certain thing of him."
Now you must know why we are to worship God. It all boils down to the fact that He is worthy, and we are to do it for no other reason. We should worship God for Who He is! You might praise Him for what He’s done, but we worship Him for who He is!
And though she came worshipping, the text seems to suggest that worship was not her pure motive. It says that they came, "worshipping, AND...." And that "and" was enough to mess the whole act up. We are told that she came with something else on her mind, on her heart, something she wanted Jesus to do.
In other words, her worship wasn’t birthed out of a pure motive, but because she wanted something out of it. *They no doubt knew the importance of worship, and the fact that things do begin to happen when we worship God. So she, along with her sons, comes to Jesus with a plan, a scheme, with an ulterior motive.
And that brings up an interesting point, that is very much a part of ulterior motives, and that is the word MANIPULATION. That is always at the root of any actions produced by ulterior motives. Husbands do it, wives do it, and children do it. They seek to secretively sway the circumstances in a position that will be favorable for them.
And that’s what we see in the text. But how many know that God looks at the heart? He doesn’t look at the clothing, but He sees beyond the facade, and into your motives!
*And you better get this: Worship does move God, but it does not manipulate God! Yet, you would be shocked to know how many people involve themselves in Spiritual activities for the wrong reasons. Take for instance this "Word of Faith" teaching, which promotes high levels of prosperity and increase. When you boil it all down, they are teaching people to give just to get back. The Bible says to be a cheerful GIVER, but they are giving in anticipation of being a cheerful RECEIVER! The motive is wrong!