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Helping handsWhat if we could all just admit right up front that at least once in our lifetime we had ulterior motives?

Ok.

Now we can talk.

In 1940 a film version of the book The Grapes of Wrath hit the big screen. The movie was about the downside of living during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. You might say that it portrayed American life in a bad light. Not the kind of film you wanted people around the world to see.

Yet it was prohibited from being shown in Russia. I thought Russian leaders wanted people to think that life in America was not all it was portrayed to be.

But there were problems for them in the film. Poor people had trucks and cars and were able to travel wherever they wanted. There was too much freedom in America, and Joseph Stalin couldn’t let that be known.

Did anyone question his true motives? The truth was poor people in America had it much better than those in Russia.

I’m not suggesting that we go around and question the motives of all. But do we really believe that all of our politicians have our best interests at heart? Or could it be more about getting the money and the votes they need to retain power.

In the Old Testament (2 Samuel 2-3) there is a fascinating story that illustrates this. Briefly, there was a civil war going on in Israel. A commander by the name of Abner was being chased by Asahel. Eventually Abner killed Asahel in self defense. Of course this did not sit well with his brother Joab.

As the civil war came to an end Abner and Joab became joint commanders. However, in a moment of deception Joab killed Abner, apparently to seek revenge for the killing of his brother Asahel.

That is the obvious reason, but is it the whole reason? I mentioned that both Abner and Joab were joint commanders. Prior to this you might say Joab was on the winning side, as King David was gaining more power.

Could there have also been an ulterior motive? What about envy? Was Joab more concerned about the death of his brother or his own personal power?

Now it’s getting personal. What were the real reasons I had to buy that new car, new clothes, or bigger house? Why did I offer to pay for everyone’s lunch? Why were the drinks on me?

Was it because I truly wanted to serve my friends, or did I do it for personal recognition and appreciation, or to close the next deal? Hurts to even think about it.

Does Joab still live on in me?