Confession . . . the Smith family consumes alcohol in moderation. Hopefully, that isn’t a deal breaker for you. But – yes, we do drink. (And – Scott has given his permission for me to share this story!)
Therefore it wasn’t a big deal when on vacation a few years ago as Layne and I were doing some resort activity and we saw Scott walk by with a 2ndbeverage, it wasn’t a big deal. We’d been there for hours . . . and 2 beverages in a 4-hour time span wasn’t that big of a deal.
We’d previously decided we would meet up in the late afternoon. As we met Scott, I thought he seemed a little tipsy. He smiled A LOT and while we were having a good time, the jubilance just didn’t seem to be warranted.
As we ate, it became apparent that he had partaken a bit TOO much. So . . . as any great spouse would do, I launched into lecturing.
He assured me that all he’d had were the two beverages . . . I didn’t believe him because clearly, he was acting intoxicated. I was agitated the rest of the day.
A few weeks later as I was getting ready for work I heard a news story about two teen siblings who were taken to the hospital and one died after drinking at a resort bar in Mexico. It was the same resort we’d been at just a few weeks prior AND the same place where Scott was certainly feeling the effects of his alcohol consumption.
The news story shared how more than 1.4 million gallons of tainted alcohol has been seized in Mexico since 2010. Some of the counterfeit alcohol is said to contain pure industrial ethanol — an ingredient used in many rubbing alcohols. This resort apparently had multiple reports of people becoming very sick after consuming only a few beverages.
You know, sometimes mixing things (like alcohol with ethanol) is unsafe.
Things that are “mixed” are not considered to be pure . . . and purity was and is a big deal when we seek to follow Jesus.
The Greek word for pure used in the beatitude “Blessed are the pure in heart” is katharos. It simply meant clean, unmixed, unadulterated, unalloyed.
When Jesus was trying to teach the people how to live into the Kingdom of God, he wanted them to understand they needed to be pure of heart. He knew that we are driven by mixed (unpure) motives. It’s part of being human . . . but he issued an exacting self-examination . . .
“Check your motives. Are they pure? Are they unmixed? Or are you doing what you are doing to serve yourself along with trying to do good in the world?”
Jesus knew people struggled with pure motives . . . and examining our motives is a daunting thing.
When we do something good for someone, do we do it so that others notice how “great/kind/nice” we are or do we do it because we know that is an offering of Christ’s love?
When we read Scripture, do we do so because we desire the communion with God or because it gives us a sense of superiority?
Does a heart of selflessness drive us or do we do things for others because it makes us feel good about ourselves?
To inherit the earth, to live into the Kingdom of God and the joy/peace that brings, we need to strive to be pure in heart. Driven not by self, but by love for God and all people.
Can we examine our motives today?