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May God be gracious to us and bless us
    and make his face to shine upon us, Selah
that your way may be known on earth,
    your saving power among all nations.  Psalm 67:1-2

If you spend long enough in a company, you will begin to notice that the people there all have varying levels of commitment to it.  Some absolutely love the company’s product.  They believe in it.  They talk about it all the time and think everyone would be better off if they became a customer of the company.  Those people give of themselves, above and beyond, to the company.  Sometimes they will tell you, “I would do this for free.”  In business, we call those people “missionaries”.

At the other extreme, there will be those who think the company is useless or even harmful.  They think the company’s customers are fools.  When they walk out the door at 5:00 PM (or earlier if possible) they leave everything about the company behind them.  They don’t care whether the company succeeds or fails, as long as they get paid, and the minute a better opportunity opens up, they are gone.  Those people are called “mercenaries”.

It turns out that the community of Christians breaks down along the exact some continuum.  We have missionaries, and mercenaries, and all of us are somewhere on a spectrum between.  Bear in mind, even Christians who work for a “mission” can have a mercenary mindset about Christ, and, though I have never met one, it would certainly be possible for a military “mercenary” to be a missionary for the Lord.

So how do you know where you lie on that spectrum?  Our text for today has an important indicator, the word, “that”.  We all pray to be blessed.  But why do we seek God’s blessing?  The mercenary wants to be blessed for his own comfort. “Dear God, make me rich, comfortable and happy, so I can worry less, play more, and be the envy of all my friends.”

Missionaries pray to be blessed for a completely different reason.  They want the Lord’s blessing to draw others to Christ.  “Lord, please heal me of my hurts, to encourage all the other hurting ones to trust in You.”

If mercenaries don’t get what they want from God, they try something else.  There are, after all, lots of other “gods”.  Missionaries find the most joy in submitting to God’s response to their prayers, knowing that He is good and His plan is best.

It’s time to test your heart.  Why do you follow the Lord, for His glory, or your own?

Not so Mean Gold 

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?  Deuteronomy 10:12-13.

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