From the Best of Bits and Pieces is this humorous story.
Everybody but Sam had signed up for a new company pension plan that called for a small employee contribution. The company was paying the rest.
Unfortunately, 100% employee participation was needed; otherwise the plan was off. Sam’s boss and his fellow workers pleaded with him to sign the new pension plan, but he wouldn’t do it.
Finally, the company president called Sam into his office and said, “Sam, here’ s a copy of the new pension plan and here’s a pen. I want you to sign the papers. I’m sorry, but if you don’t sign, you’re fired. As of right now.”
Sam quickly grabbed the pen and signed the papers. The boss looked at him and said, “Would you mind telling me why you didn’t sign up earlier?”
“Well, sir,” Sam replied. “Nobody explained it to me quite so clearly before.”
Motivation is a powerful force that can compel people to action. Motivation can be either positive or negative. Positive motivation encourages people with the promise of a reward. Negative motivation cajoles others with the threat of punishment.
The Bible actually offers both types of motivation to encourage us to obedience and spur us on to continued faithfulness.
In discussing God’s rejection of Israel for their unfaithfulness, Paul offered this insight to the Roman Christians “Consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off” (Rom. 11:22).
In Jesus’ description of the Judgment day, he depicted it as a shepherd dividing the sheep on his right hand from the goats on his left hand. He then chronicles the failure of the goats and faithfulness of the sheep. Those on the left would be consigned to “everlasting punishment,” but those on the right would receive “eternal life” (Matt. 25:31-46).
The epistles also combine warnings, reassurance, and inspiration to motivate us to keep on keeping on. To grow spiritually. To aspire to greater service. And not lose heart.
In 1 Corinthians 10 Paul warns us not to be like ancient Israel who succumbed to the sins of idolatry and adultery and became grumblers against God. Their negative example, he argues should motivate us to remain faithful. However, he reminds us that “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10:13).
Peter offers a wonderful incentive to grow in faith and develop the Christian virtues enumerated with these words.
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” (2 Pet. 1:3-4).
Think about it. God has given us everything we need to grow in godliness. To enjoy a fulfilled, productive and successful life. To experience Divine fellowship. To partake of His promised blessings. To escape the pollution of this world. And live a life pleasing to Him.
God’s promises to His people are precious. They are great. They are exceedingly great. Consider just a few of these promises.
♦Forgiveness of every sin through the blood of Jesus (Eph. 1:7).
♦Becoming a child of God (Rom. 8:16)
♦Being a joint-heir with Jesus (Rom. 8:17).
♦Receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit (Ax. 2:38).
♦Given a means to overcome Satan’s temptations (Eph. 6:10-18).
♦Knowing God hears and answers our prayers (Mk. 11;22-25).
♦Obtaining cleansing from sin on a daily basis (1Jn.1:7).
♦Having hope in spite of life’s challenges (Col. 1:23).
♦Anticipating a home in heaven for eternity (Jn. 14:1-3).
Perhaps our greatest motivation to obedience and faithfulness is the immense and immeasurable nature of God’s love. A love that would send His Son to die for us, even while we were rebellious sinners. Indeed, we ought to be compelled to love God because He first loved us (1Jn. 4:19).
Finally, this compelling thought from Gary Henry. “The quantity of our ‘motivation’ grows out of the quality of our motives. Higher, worthier motives produce a motivation that’s more forceful and long-lasting.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman
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