I find this verse to be challenging:
“When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts.” (Malachi 1:8, ESV)
I understand that worship of God is not as much about what we do as it is about who we are and what our priorities are. Do we love God enough to give him the best? When I ask this question, I do not have material things primarily in mind.
I find that the reason that I do not offer the best to God is that I am often more interested in looking good than honoring God.
For example, when I read my Bible, am I getting a “check in the box” on a reading schedule or am I doing it to allow God to speak to me through Scripture?
Do I attend a Bible study to give Scripture and my brothers to mold me, or am I going because it is the thing to do and it would look awkward if I didn’t attend?
Am I serving out of a sense of calling or because I want to be seen as someone who serves?
Sure, we will never have completely pure motives for anything that we do, but an honest inventory is worth the effort to reveal parts of us are in need of redemption.
I should point out that there is value in doing the right thing even if our motives are not entirely pure (which they will never be in this lifetime). I’m certainly not saying that one should sit on the sidelines until something can be done with perfect motives.
My point is that we should be aware of the motive behind our activites and confess when our motive is selfish.
Perhaps the deciding question is “who gets the glory?” The recipient of the glory is either God or me, we cannot share it.