When I was in high school, I had a friend whose family always struggled to make ends meet. I remember talking to my friend on the phone one day and he said something about the oven door being propped open. Why, I asked. Because the heater was broken and they were using the oven to heat the house. Isn’t that dangerous, I asked. He wasn’t sure. I did the teenage verbal equivalent of a shrug and didn’t give the situation another thought.
Shortly thereafter, I had my dad drive me over to my friend’s house to hang out. My dad came to the door with me and spoke to my friend’s mother. I don’t remember his exact words but something to the effect of having his toolbox in the car and some time to kill before he had to be somewhere and did they have anything that he could fix?
I wasn’t impressed with his charity. I wasn’t impressed with his ability to make it seem like they were doing him a favor. I was impressed that he wasn’t doing it to earn celestial points. My dad is an agnostic so I knew his motives were pure.
My motives are, generally, not pure. I’ve read too many scriptures about the blessings that await do-gooders to ever do good without, on some level, thinking about them. I’m wondering how we go about attaining personal purity. Or must our motives always be tainted by thoughts of rewards in heaven?