I grew up in Oklahoma. Although we don’t live there anymore, we still have a property with a rental cabin on it. Inevitably, every time I go down there it is jam-packed with work. We got running water down to the cabin earlier this year, but the pipe was laid on the surface of the ground. Recently I went down with some siblings for a week. Among the million other things that needed to happen, we needed to bury the line before we got freezing weather. This wasn’t easy: there was 400 feet of line that needed to be buried through a heavily-wooded area by hand.
We were leaving on Sunday. It was Friday night and I still didn’t know how it was going to happen. To top it off, a friend called and invited us to go boating on the lake on Saturday. I laughed and said we couldn’t, because that trench absolutely needed to be dug.
My younger brother desperately wanted to go boating, so I said, “If we get the water line in, we’ll go.” I didn’t really expect to.
When I woke up that Saturday, I didn’t see my brother go out. I saw him come back in after working a while. I joined him, and we had a good amount done before breakfast. At the end of the day we had finished the trench and also had gone boating.
Those hours of backbreaking digging gave me time to think. We were going to spend Saturday digging anyway, but it went much better than expected. It seemed like that Saturday we had an ingredient that often wasn’t present in the way I did things.
It was motivation. Not only was it the faithfulness of duty, we really wanted to. I realized that faithfulness and motivation were working hand in hand. The result was beautiful.
Scripture is full of commands and declarations that we will be God’s faithful people. “Love the LORD your God,” “I will cause them to walk in my ways,” “You are… a holy nation,” and “Be faithful to the point of death.” I think of these a lot, but there’s another side that I fail to realize often. “And I will give you the crown of life,” “Labor to enter into that rest,” “Then the King will say… ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you.’”
I could go on and on. These verses are here for a reason. Could it be that God wants reward-motivation to be an active part of our experience?
Paul said, “I press toward the mark for the prize...” John said, “We…know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure” (1 John 3:2-3, NLT). Peter said, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life.” (John 6:68, NLT) Evidently, a deep motivation and focus on heaven ran strong in the way they thought.
My life is full of activity. I’m in college because God has me there to prepare to serve. I’m involved in kids ministry. I have big family responsibilities. This is where God has called me to be faithful. When things get hard, I remind myself of this often. I’m convinced that I can be motivated by more than this. As it was for my brother and me, the reward was a couple hours of enjoyment on the lake when the work was finished. Should an eternity of reward and being with Jesus motivate us any less?
Whatever we’re involved in, overseas or at home, teaching special-needs children or preaching revivals, let’s be filled with God’s Spirit. Yes, He makes us faithful but may He also fill us with motivation “while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed” (Titus 2:13, NLT).