Three militiamen stopped British officer John Andre in 1780. While searching him they found incriminating evidence of conspiracy with Benedict Arnold to betray West Point to the British. That discovery led to the arrest of Andre, to Arnold’s flight to the British and to perhaps the salvation of the American Revolution.
Still, when the three applied for pensions for their Revolutionary service, including their incredible success in uncovering Arnold’s great treachery, Benjamin Tallmadge led an effort to deny the request. The reason: as General Washington’s spy chief during the War, he had inside information. He knew that the trio had been looking to rob Andre and only accidentally discovered the damning evidence. Revolutionary Spies, 274
Did the lack of a pure motive denigrate their find? Whatever their motive, didn’t their arrest of Arnold’s accomplice prove astronomically valuable to the American cause? Did it have lesser importance in being a by-product, not the reason, for the search? Couldn’t their initial motive have been forgiven since their ultimate discovery proved so useful to the American cause?
To protect his own reputation as Christ’s true apostle, the apostle Paul could have warned his readers not to listen to men whose motives in preaching Christ were impure. But no, whether from pure or alloyed motives, he praised God that Jesus was preached Philippians 1:12-18. Let us be grateful that God grants rewards even if we have less than sterling motives. For how many activities, even in Christ’s name, arise from purely unsordid, selfless motives? Isn’t one of the reasons we accept Christ as Savior that we don’t want to be cast from his presence at Judgment?