dumpster diving and motives

What makes a person run 13.1 miles without stopping? What is it about the alarm clock that results in one arising at 4 am? What causes a person to spend hours dumpster diving for dentures?

Motive. Incentive. Inner drive. Impulse. That which causes one to act.
Motives are linked directly to a person’s actions. But actions do not always reflect motives. Why do you do the things you do? What makes you do good? What causes you to do evil? It is possible to do something good with horrible motives, just as it is possible to have good intentions and end up hurting someone.

Pride, money, glory, flat abs, friends, sleep…selfishness, selflessness. What is your motivation? Where is your heart?

There’s a little old lady who has dentures. And she has a history of wrapping her dentures in a napkin and  leaving them on the dining room table. This results in the dentures being disposed of accidently. Thus, dumpster diving for dentures. Yesterday, as I leaned over the dumpster and pulled out a gray garbage bag labeled “Dietary: Breakfast 10-30”, I thought about my motives. “Why am I doing this?” As I put on a gown and gloves and opened the raunchy smelling bag, I questioned my job description. “I paid thousands of dollars for 4 years of school to pass the NCLEX and do this?” As I picked apart the soggy bread from the banana peels, the straws from the plastic cups, I unwrapped every napkin…one by one.

Now I understand how the shepherd could leave the flock in search of the one lost sheep. I get how the lady could search her house high and low for the missing coin.
And I totally relate with the need to call together friends and neighbors saying, “Rejoice with me, for I have found the sheep, the coin, the dentures that were lost!” There was much celebration when the dentures were found.

But I’m still thinking back to “Why?”. Why did I dumpster dive for dentures? Why do I do the things I do? Sometimes, it’s because it’s my ‘job’. Sometimes, it’s because other people are watching me. Sometimes, it’s because it will benefit me. Sometimes, it’s because I think I’ll get more ‘Jesus points’. Sometimes it’s because I want vengeance and justice. Sometimes, it’s because of my pride. Sometimes, it’s because of guilt or shame.

Not always, but sometimes.

Once in awhile, I do the things I do because of my faith. Sometimes, the Spirit enables me to give grace and mercy that only comes from Him. Sometimes, love for God is the catalyst behind my actions. Sometimes, I’m not actually thinking of myself.

Not always, but sometimes.

What makes an infinite Being breathe life into finite beings? What is it about this world that results in the Almighty sacrificing His only Son? What causes the Lord of the universe to invite His creation to be part of the story of restoration, renewal, and redemption?

God is good. His motives are good. His intentions are good. His actions are good. His love is good. His grace is good. His mercy is good. His forgiveness is good. His promises are good. His thoughts are good. His words are good.

Not sometimes, but always.

2 thoughts on “dumpster diving and motives

  1. Hillary,
    You write beautifully! And such a great post. It is the journey on which he has us all isn't it – this refining of our inner self, of our hearts and our motives. It reminds me of Henri Nouwen's writing about his time working with the mentally challenges after years of teaching at Harvard. Thanks for sharing.


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