Blog Post #81: Method vs Motivation



Matthew 12:1

“Honor the Sabbath Day and Keep It Holy.” On this day, we are to do no “work”. But the Great Scholar (“or have you never read in the Law…”) says, “For the Son of Man is Lord [even(?)] of the Sabbath”, and elsewhere, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”

What is up? Conflict? Contradiction? No, Correction. GOD gave us life. Jesus came that we may have “life, and have it more abundantly”. On the Sabbath day we are to make ourselves available to GOD so that He CAN MINISTER TO US! Only when we loose ourselves from the distractions of this mundane existence and DELIBERATELY FOCUS OUR ATTENTION ON THE SOURCE OF OUR BEING (“For it is in Him that we live and move have our being”) can we grow in our relationship with Him. The Sabbath was set aside FOR US by Him to assure both His and our opportunity for intimacy and fellowship with each other! What greater intimacy and fellowship can we have with GOD than that we earnestly and humbly seek to know and to do His will? Especially on the Day He set aside for us to focus on Him, the Living GOD, Who is always up to something good!

Nowadays, we need practical guidance on how to take full advantage of the Sabbath opportunity. God also has provided for that with instructions in Romans 12: 1 – 3:“I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.”

The LORD emphasizes this inner orientation/motivation on several occasions in His dealings with the Religious (Self-) Right(eous) of the day: “And if you had only known what this saying means, I desire mercy [readiness to help, to spare, to forgive] rather than sacrifice and sacrificial victims, you would not have condemned the guiltless.”Again, in Hos. 6:6AMP: “For I desire and delight in dutiful steadfast love and goodness, not sacrifice, and the knowledge of and acquaintance with God more than burnt offerings.”And yet, again, Matt. 9:13AMP:“Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy [that is, readiness to help those in trouble] and not sacrifice and sacrificial victims. For I came not to call and invite [to repentance] the righteous (those who are upright and in right standing with God), but sinners (the erring ones and all those not free from sin).” Notice that those whose motivation leads them down this path of mercy are declared “guiltless (Matthew 12:.7AMP)?

I am guilty of desiring to have my gifts-teaching, leading, encouraging/exhorting and prophecy (forth-telling), and my talents- writing, public speaking, strategic thinking and planning- recognized for my inurement rather than as means through which GOD will be glorified. As a consequence, I find my progress in growth in my relationship with Him slow or, stalled, much like an ill-tuned expensive sports car that is not firing on all cylinders. LORD, PLEASE HELP ME WITH THIS OBSTACLE!


William H. “Bill” Hicks is a graduate of Wesleyan University, BA, Religion, 1971 who also holds a Masters in Public Health Degree (MPH) from the University of Oklahoma Hudson College of Public Health (1973). Bill also has studied at the Dallas Theological Seminary. He grew up in Harlem, New York City, USA during the 1950s and 1960s, graduating from high school before attending Mount Hermon Preparatory School and undergraduate school in Connecticut. He has spent most of his professional life in the public health arena, while being constantly in ministry. He received his license to preach the Gospel at Oklahoma City, OK in 1971. He has written extensively on Christian topics. He enjoys life in Chattanooga, TN with former District Public Defender Ardena Garth Hicks, his wife of 30 years. They have two daughters, Rachel (BA, University of Memphis magna cum laude, 2014) and Sarah (Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude, Global Scholar, University of Tulsa, 2017).
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