"Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own interests, but also for the interests of others."
I must continually put myself to the question as to my true motive, because it can change from moment to moment. An easy way to check if it's in the right place is to check on my joy in the Lord. Am I getting annoyed? Frustrated? Anxious? Depressed? These are all indicators of a strayed focus, and of motives no longer rooted in the Lord.
Instead, I need to put myself in the shoes of the other person and then ask “myself”: “What do I need? What do I want? What would help me right now?” This certainly isn’t a be-all end-all answer, but it is a beginning. (I have to remind myself not to be afraid to actually ask the person, either!)
It’s nice to be used by God. Not that anything I do could thwart His purpose, but it is definitely fulfilling to live within His will, rather than outside it. There is a peace in it, and the joy of the Lord shines brighter through it, overflowing in an upward spiral that glorifies God. May I be cognizant of the way in which my life glorifies Him.
What are your motives in serving others?