Motive Self-Check

I was listening to talk radio the other day and heard one of the “talking heads” on one of their rants. The monologue I dropped into ended with this:

“Almost everyone who is in the pursuit of money is not honest about it.”

It was one of those times when you hear something and it goes right past the conscious mind and drops into the subconscious for a while, where it festers. This came out for me today when I realized I’d been thinking about that quote for a few days. And because it’s been a few days, I’m not sure exactly who said it. I’d love to give them credit. I think it was Rush Limbaugh.

Anyway, it’s been nagging me. “Always”, “Never”, “Everyone”, even “Almost Everyone” are the kinds of generalizations that are not helpful in arguments. We know we shouldn’t use these broad categories without really checking ourselves, because there are precious few statements of condition which are still true in very broad categories. What’s been nagging me is the thought that this might be one of those exceptions.

Checking Myself…
What am I pursuing? Am I pursuing wealth? Money? Even the “things” money can buy? We all do to a certain extent. Yet, are we completely honest about that? Here are the top ten things I want:

1. I want to glorify God in my life. He created me and my chief end is to glorify Him.
2. I want to love my wife and give myself up for her. My life for hers.
3. I want to love my kids, and train and prepare them well to have the same first two goals as I have; included in that is giving them an excellent education.
4. I want to serve and honor my extended family and friends. They are generous with me and I want to be generous with them.
5. I want to serve my clients well. Give them excellent, well-thought-out, and apt advice. I want to be worth more to them than they pay me.
6. I want to love my neighbor. Help others who are struggling and be kind even to those who don’t treat me well.
7. I want to be healthy and live as full a life as God allows me to by eating well and exercising regularly.
8. I want a vehicle with more than 11 seatbelts. You might want to call that a need, but so far we’re safe and legal.
9. I want a nice barn in my back yard.
10. I want to finish my basement sometime and maybe put in a pool.

When I don’t talk to myself, when I don’t remind myself what I really think, I can fall into the habit of HEARING myself. When I hear myself, the list is much less admirable:

1. I need a 2008 or newer, Ford 15 passenger van (really a hot car once you get past the size).
2. I want my kids to behave and smile most of the time.
3. I want to go out for dinner more and eat whatever I want.
4. I want my wife to be happy when I’m an hour late from work.
5. I want to have more fun and work less.
6. I want to go to MSU football and basketball games – maybe even get season tickets!
7. I want a new set of friends (that’s for you, Dave)
8. This list goes on and on.

I know that money is not the point. But it can easily become the point if I don’t continue to set my mind on the right desires and goals. On my best day, I’m there already and I want that first list. I don’t need to work hard talking myself into it.

But on most days—like today—I need help. I need to be reminded. So…thanks, Rush, or whoever you were, for the reminder: that when it comes to motives, I’m my own best talking head.

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