A missionary doctor from Africa told of driving a jeep all one night to take a woman back from the hospital to the village where she lived. There didn't seem to be anyone else to do it, and she had to go home, so he took her. It rained continually during that long, dark night throughout the entire round trip. The roads were almost impossible by the time he was returning home.
When he got back it was dawn. He was soaked, muddy, and exhausted. He showered and went to work as usual. No one at the hospital thanked him or commended him. The doctor simply prayed, "Lord, that trip was for You. I'm glad the woman could get home, but I really did it for You and Your commendation is enough."
Our primary motivation for ministry will determine the measure of joy we have in our service. If we are serving simply because we love the people, it may seem noble, but that kind of love wears thin. The people may not appreciate or even notice what we've done. But if we are serving simply because we want to express our love to God, then His approval is enough.
When Jesus first arose from the dead and appeared to Mary Magdalene, He said, "Don't touch me for I haven't yet ascended to my Father." He first offered Himself up to His Father. Christ' primary reason for dying--indeed, all He did--was to please His Father.
Dear Lord, reveal to me those deeds that I can do knowing my primary motivation is to please You.
"God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them" (Hebrews 6:10).