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I had heard the same story told a number of times before.
Reference: Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me there on these charges?” (Acts 25:9 NIV)
Explore: My friend, Janice, recently told me about a dinner she attended. After hearing Janice’s dinner story I realised I had heard the same story told, by different people, a number of times before.
Janice’s old school friend, Claire, had looked her up. While they were pretty close back at school, they had lost touch after attending different universities. Janice was touched that Claire still remembered her and was keen to hear what she was up to now.
Janice drove across town to Claire’s house where she put on a beautiful meal and caught up on old times. They reminisced about school days and updated each other on the lives of old acquaintances. Claire was attentive and very interested in Janice’s life and even her future dreams and plans.
That’s when the conversation started to head in an unexpected direction. Claire started to speak of her amazing job that was flexible and had a huge potential for growth and wealth. She spoke of achieving great goals and seeing Janice’s potential.
Then came the hidden agenda for the whole meal. Claire wanted Janice to head on the same journey of success by signing up to her pyramid selling scheme. Sure, when Claire said it she wasn’t so blunt as to call it a “pyramid selling scheme”, but there was no hiding that structure!
Janice could not wrap up the conversation and head out of there quickly enough. She drove home so disappointed. An enjoyable night of catching up on old times had been tarnished by the actual intent, to sign her up to Claire’s new business.
Application: Claire had hidden the true intent for their catch up well, but it came out in the end. There has to be something untoward about a hidden agenda, otherwise, we would be open and honest from the start.
If we look at our own conversations we will notice we carry our own hidden agendas too. Any time we emphasis a particular part of our conversation we do so with the hidden agenda to present ourselves in the best possible light.
It seems that hidden agendas have been going on for years. When Paul was under trial he presented himself before Festus. In his role as judge Festus should have been impartial, and yet, his desire was not to see justice prevail, but to favour the Jews.
It’s hard to be completely impartial, as we all come with our own biases and preferences, however, it’s important for us to be aware of our hidden agendas. God is truth, and so, for us to be His representative here on earth, we must be open and honest ourselves. Let’s not wheel and deal under false pretences, but reveal our intentions with integrity and treat others as we would like to be treated.
Prayer: Lord, Your intentions are always pure. May we deal with others in honesty and not cover up our true intentions. Amen.
When have you been blinded by a hidden agenda?