So the king said to Joab the commander of the army who was with him, "Now go throughout all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and count the people, that I may know the number of the people." And Joab said to the king, "Now may the Lord your God add to the people a hundredfold more than there are, and may the eyes of my lord the king see it. But why does my lord the king desire this thing?"
Look at Me
A man went to a shoe store to purchase a new pair of shoes. He was fitted with a very suitable pair and went away happy. Some weeks later, though, he brought the shoes back. "Don't they fit?" asked the store owner. "Oh, they fit fine," replied the man. "Weren't they of good quality?" the owner inquired. "Yes, they're fine quality." "Then why are you returning them?" the retailer wanted to know. "Because they don't have any squeak," said the man. "Why would you want a pair of shoes that squeak?" asked the baffled owner. "So when I go to church," said the man, "people will look up and notice."
Unfortunately, that same attitude took hold of David. In and of itself, there was nothing wrong with numbering the people. It was a convenient way to know who was available for war or what taxes to levy. But those were not David's motives. David undertook this task to bring glory to himself. Underneath an innocent-looking decision slithered the snake of pride.
Many times Christians do the right thing but with the wrong motive. They might give a large gift, serve on a committee or sing in the choir, but they do it so they will be noticed. Their desire is to glorify themselves more than to give godly service.
Ask God to reveal your true reasons for the things you do. It takes courage and discipline to do this, but it's worth getting to the bottom of your motives. Don't be guilty of doing the right things for the wrong reasons.
If your motive is wrong, your service can never be right.