We love having people over to our home for fellowship.  Many times it’s family.  I love having our family over; not because it’s easy but because of the investment.  When our grown kids come over I don’t try to impress them.  I clean the house so the little kids, better known as my Cute Kids, can be on the floor and stay decently clean.  I cook so there is food.  Preparations are done with the motive that our family is going to make memories today.

Motives matter.  Our motives are the drive behind the event.  Motives affect the atmosphere which affects the fellowship.  The better the fellowship, the more successful the day!

There are a few players with motives in the story given to us in John 12.  Mary, Martha and Lazarus are entertaining Jesus and a few others for dinner.   What’s actually the motive behind each person in the story?  Let’s examine them as we also examine our motives.  John 12:6 clearly tells the motive of one of the attendees, “This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief; and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.”

  1. Mary’s motive was pure.  She wanted to worship Jesus.  What I do for the Lord is never a waste.  If I invest money, no one considers it a waste.  Time invested for Christ, in His work, and with your family, is not a waste.  There are returns on your investment that are priceless!
  2. In Luke 10, Martha’s motive was to present herself well before Jesus and her company.  Her motive was examined and found impure.  She was trying to put her best foot forward but instead got her priorities out of order. In this passage, it seems that Martha serves with a pure motive.  She learned her lesson and served joyfully with a pure heart.  When she examined herself, she realized that worship was of more value than work.

For years our family ate off of glass plates every Sunday.  I wanted the best for my family and for any Sunday lunch guests.  For the last 2 years I’ve used paper plates for Sunday lunch.  This did not affect the quality of conversation.  It only affected the work after the meal.  What I thought was a pure motive was my own selfish way.  If it doesn’t add to the investment, let it go!

  1. Lazarus was glad to be there.  He was a recipient of fellowship with the Lord and with his family after his tragic event.  When our motives are pure, we are the recipient of wonderful fellowship with God and His people.
  2. Judas was there as a critic.  He wasn’t invited to be a critic.  He was invited because he was Jesus’ disciple.  He boastfully asks what he considers a spiritual question in John 12:5, “Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?” 

Being spiritual is not something that you wear, it is who you are.  It’s being who Jesus wants you to be.  Mary was much more in touch with Jesus than was Judas.

  1. John 12:9 tells us that other people of the Jews came to see Lazarus since he had been dead and to see Jesus.  Their motives were not to see and have a change of heart, but instead to see for the reason of knowing.
  2. The chief priests came in to view like a committee, taking notes, deciding whether Lazarus should be put to death or not.  Jesus changes lives and changes people’s perspectives.

Ask yourself a few questions, “Do I listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit like Mary did?”  “Do my motives matter?” I want my motive to match my message, because motives matter!