Study # 57
October 21, 1998
Harlingen, Texas

Thesis: "Wisdom" that is improperly motivated cannot serve the Church well. Introduction: Last week we looked into motivation for ministry. We are particularly concerned about the motivation for "foundational" ministry--i.e., that ministry which lays the foundation for the rest of the issues of the life of those who give heed to it. We have seen that James focuses, not upon the creedal conclusions of such ministries, but upon the motives that drive them. Why is this? Cannot true words, even out of the mouth of improperly motivated people, still result in good if they are believed? Yes, but that is not the issue. The issue is the long-term "wear" that goes on between "teachers" and those who give heed to them. Words can be divorced from their human sources if there is enough distance between the human beings; but words that come along with a continual rubbing of shoulders eventually get mixed up with the motivations of those involved. And the motivations add content to the words and create a certain influence of their own which becomes life-impacting. James was not writing to churches that had mega-numbers, but to house churches where the rubbing of the shoulders was relatively intense. But, according to James, there is a greater problem that simply the problem of false motives. It is what the motives DO TO THE WORDS.