May 1, 1991 Issue
by Larry Lay

Motivational seminars have swept our nation. Most are familiar with the names so they need not be mentioned. Suffice it to say they draw big crowds, paying big money, to be motivated. It clearly demonstrates that people want to be and need to be motivated. But, I ask, who will motivate me? Good question! Much of life is spent with the process of motivation. From cradle to grave we are the by-products of various interconnected motivational processes. Young children are motivated to excel in school with praise and rewards. The businessman motivates his employees to sell more, to work more, to be more productive and efficient. The motivation? More commissions, advancements, and recognition. Elders, preachers, teachers, motivate congregations to be about the Lord's work. Parents are motivating their children to develop their talents in the Lord and walk closely with God. And it is important that we motivate one another. The epistles are replete with many examples of godly people motivating fellow believers.

But I somehow sense a problem in all of this. While it is important and I suppose in some cases critical, that we spiritually motivate each other, why are so many in need of being motivated by others?

It is interesting to note that some people who seemingly need little motivation in life, need so much in religion. People do not generally need to be motivated to pursue sports, hobbies, recreation, and good times. Most Christian people don't need to be motivated to make a living for their families. I Tim 5:8 is apparently good enough. Or I would rather think the natural love that one would have for his/her family is sufficient motivation. We can actively pursue our careers, our friendships, and our pastimes, often not requiring great outside motivation, and yet sometimes seem somewhat unmotivated towards the Church and the matters of faith.

It seems apparent there is a level of motivation that must arise from within my own heart and have as a wellspring my own personal belief in God and commitment to His cause on this earth.

What motivated Paul to go unto the Gentiles? "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israelis, that they might be saved." (Rom 10:1) What was in Paul's heart was sufficient motivation to drive him on in the face of opposition, persecution, and deprivation. That experience on the Damascus Road changed Paul forever. We should hope that our rebirth would likewise change us forever. (II Cor 5:17) We are not left with the sense that Paul needed a lot of prodding and pushing to proclaim Who and what lived in his heart. He said it rightly, "It is not I that live, but Christ liveth in me." (Gal 2:20) When Christ starts living in us, we are going to gain a whole new and different perspective on motivation! The lack of motivation, I fear, may be traced to the fact that maybe Christ doesn't live in us to the degree or in the way that He needs to.

When the Church at Jerusalem was scattered abroad, the motivation for the actions that followed were apparent. The simple but powerful statement of (Acts 8:4) "Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word" leaves us with no doubt as to what their motivation was. It must have been a deep sense of consecration that motivated them to jeopardize their lives to preach what they so faithfully practiced.

Of those in Hebrews 11 we stand in awe. Hunted, hounded, and hated, the Bible says by faith they endured, they conquered, they overcame. Do we have to wonder what would motivate people to do as they did? I think not. The answer is far too obvious. Something pushed them far beyond the limits of what most of us could imagine. What was their motivation? No doubt their motivation was the same as Moses' of whom it was said in the same Chapter (Heb 11:24-27) "By faith, Moses when he was come to years, refused to be called the Son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward...for he endured, as seeing Him who is invisible."

All of these had one common connecting thread. In life their motivation arose from a deep-seated faith in God, and certainly a sense of urgency about their mission in life. They were able to overcome because of their perception of God and the future.

We must recognize that no human power on earth can ultimately motivate and empower us to approach our duties and relationship to God with a real sense of urgency and purpose. The more fully the love of God brings into focus our mission, the more clearly we sense the danger faced by unrepentant souls, the more personally we feel responsibility towards each precious soul, the more motivated we will become.

Who has to motivate us to feed a hungry child, or tenderly care for our young ones when vexed by sickness or injury. Who need motivate us to show compassion to the disheartened, the weary, the beleaguered in life?

And who should have to motivate us to be about the Master's business? May the day soon come when the greatest motivational power there is--the love of God in our hearts--a love of His commandments, a love of his children, a love of his church, and a love for lost souls, be the great motivating and moving power in our lives. (I Cor. 13)

Certainly we all need to be motivated from time to time. It is natural. But we must strive to see where the deeper motivation that all of us need must ultimately come from. May we, with Moses, endure by seeing Him who is invisible. Amen.

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