The Name Underneath

Long ago there lived in the land of Egypt an architect named Cnidius. He was employed by the Pharaoh of that day to build a watch-tower to warn mariners from certain dangerous rocks upon the coast. When the tower was nearly finished, Cnidius had his own name engraved on a stone in the wall, and then covered it with plaster. On the outside of the plaster he inscribed in golden letters the name of Pharaoh.

The cunning architect knew very well that as the years rolled by the waves would wash away the plaster, and that then his own name would stand out before the eyes of men, and be handed down to successive generations. His motive is apparent. Self–love and the desire for fame were uppermost in his heart, though carefully veiled under disguise of service to his king.

In the balances of the sanctuary motives weigh very heavily. Words and deeds are weighed, but motives, secret desires and intentions, the designs of the heart, outweigh them all; and at the judgment seat of Christ, when our lives are passed in review under His searching eye, motives will be of much account. "The fire shall try every man’s work," and the Lord will take up the question with His servants as to "how much every man had gained by trading." But the question will not only be, "How much?" but, "Of what sort?" (1 Cor. 3:13) The valuation in that day will be made according to quality as well as quantity. And the quality depends on the motives.

It is easy to be zealous of works that are called "good," and to cover our activities with a coat of plaster whereon the name of "Christ" is inscribed in large letters that all may see. But what when the plaster covering is washed off? Whose name will then be seen? Will our own names appear engraved upon the stone that is behind the plaster? In other words, will our actions, our works, or deeds of service be found, "in that day," to have sprung from motives that will obtain the commendation of Christ, or from motives that have self as their object?

These are searching questions, and we shall do well to give them a place in our thoughts.