Return, O LORD, deliver me! Oh, save me for Your mercies’ sake! For in death there is no remembrance of You; In the grave who will give You thanks? (Psalms 6:4, 5, NKJV).

Sometimes the motive of an action makes all the difference. In Desiring God, John Piper gives the example of the husband who arrives home on his anniversary with two-dozen roses. His wife is thrilled until the husband says, “Think nothing of it, it’s my duty as a husband.” It is the heart of our actions that we ought to be concerned about, for there is the difference between love and duty; between devotion and bargaining.

To some extent, I’m afraid that modern evangelism has ignored this in order to achieve a desired result. What is in a person’s heart is not as important as whether or not they walk an aisle, say a prayer, get baptized, etc. We’ve watered down talk of a changing of a heart to simply repeating a prayer and really “meaning it.”

Much of the focus of evangelism has been Heaven and Hell. Certainly, Heaven and Hell are realities of the Gospel, but what is lost when we convince a person to fear Hell and desire Heaven? Perhaps they strike a bargain or attempt to work out a deal, but is there a changing of the heart? Is there a desire for God that was once destroyed by sin?

In the sixth Psalm, David prays from weakness and brokenness for salvation. It might be easy to point out that in verses 4-5, David explains the urgency of such a prayer by showing that death is final. However, I think there is something more. The motive of David’s urgency is not his own condition in death, but whether or not God is remembered and praised. Motives make all the difference.

What will become of evangelism when the goal is no longer heaven, but the love and worship of the Lord?

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