Pure Motives?

The other day my husband told me about a man who traded in
his hybrid Honda Civic for a Prius, the Toyota hybrid. The Civic looked too much
like a traditional car and he wanted the attention the Prius drew. In some quarters
of American society, there’s a new kind of “green conspicuous consumption.”
We brag about our gas mileage, we buy carbon offsets for our plane trips,
and we are snapping up books on how to build and buy “green.” Do we really
care about the poisoning of the earth or do we want the attention we get for going green?
Hard to tell. The fellow who traded cars because he wanted the attention makes me wonder.
Could be that he just wanted the opportunity to spread the gospel of green.

Someone once said a freeing thing to me: “No one has pure motives.” I’d been moaning
to him that I’d wanted attention; that’s why I’d given a communion meditation
in service that day. The thought was freeing because, like all perfectionism,
purity was unobtainable. I could confess my impurity and ask God to purify my motivation,
certainly, but I didn’t need to mope around, punishing myself for my mixed

Only God, who has absorbed our guilt into his vast heart, is
pure. He is working toward a glorious future that we can all be part of. He
acts, not for selfish attention, but for selfless good. Actually, I can hardly
imagine that kind of selflessness. I must confess, mostly I just like attention
for my own good deeds, green or otherwise. Maybe you understand that. 

Oh, Lord, reorient our hearts, away from attention-seeking, toward
your good purposes.

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