Today’s encouraging word is motivation.
The Google dictionary describes motivation as “the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.”
Last week I was out on my morning walk when a sudden cloudburst began to drench me. Fortunately, the weather was warm so I continued my walk with a good spirit. But a few minutes later my friend Diana happened to drive by, her umbrella extended out the window for me. This simple act of kindness warmed my soul- and inspired today’s post.
As I have written before, we can never be certain whether our actions will make much of an impact or lead to our desired outcomes. A small act of kindness can blossom into so much more. A huge endeavor may disappoint or fail. The outcomes of our efforts are not guaranteed.
Maybe the significance of our actions should not be measured by the size of their impact, but from the motivation behind them. I am reminded of the words of Jesus about the widow’s offering of a few copper coins: “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others… she, out of her poverty, put in everything…” (Mark 12:43-44). Her impact was small. Her motivation was immense.
Diana’s small gesture made a big enough impact to write about her here. Her small gesture inspired my thoughts for today. Did she intend to inspire me or prompt me to write or do anything more than keep me dry? No. She simply saw a friend in need and lovingly responded with what she had to offer. Her motivation was to be kind. Her act blossomed into so much more, but her motivation was her God-serving kindness and care for others.
The reasons we are moved to do something can either be self-serving or God-serving. Why do we do the things we do? Is it time to take an inventory of our actions, to revisit the things we do and discern whether our motives are pure? Do our acts of goodness have the integrity of purpose? Are we serving and acting genuinely out of love for God and one another?
Here are a few of my inventory questions…
Do I always write out of my sole desire to humbly share God’s love in new ways, or do I inwardly hope to be a successful or “famous” book author one day? Do I spend time in contemplation in order to deepen my loving relationship with God, or do I really hope to glean some insights for my writing?
Is my anger a righteous anger that leads me to work for healing and justice? Or is my anger a resenting and festering anger, a reaction to a hurt or an injustice that wants to strike back?
Am I kind to someone with no other expectation, or do I hope to receive a kindness or recognition in return? Do I always serve others with joy or do I harbor some resentment?
(That’s probably enough honest disclosure for today! 😉 )
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NIV)
God is able to use everything- even our faulty or misguided efforts- but our own love and joy increase when we are able to serve out of God-centered motivation… when we learn not to react but to clarify our motives with God and then act. When our motives are pure, we will discover the greater perseverance, strength, purpose and peace that comes from God, even when our callings are challenging and difficult. When our motivation is God-serving, our actions will reflect our genuine countenance of joy, humility and graciousness.
Will we ever know all the ways we have made a good difference in the world? When our motivation is pure love, we find we have no need to know.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:9-11 (NIV)
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17 (NIV)
“Work for a cause, not for applause. Live life to express, not to impress. Don’t strive to make your presence noticed, just make your absence felt.”
I want my heart to be completely free to love You, Who are Love itself.
Give me a heart free of self absorption, that I might know and love Christ in every person I meet.
Give me a heart brimming with joy and peace, that remains firmly rooted in You, no matter my circumstances.
Give me a heart free of doubt: doubt in You, Your faithfulness and perfect plan for my life; doubt in myself and the gifts You have given me; doubt in others’ intentions towards me.
Give me a heart that is malleable, that can be molded and lovingly shaped, like clay in the Potter’s hands, to be evermore in the likeness of Christ’s Sacred Heart, Mary’s Immaculate Heart, and St. Joseph’s pure heart.
Give me a heart that breaks with Yours at the sufferings of others and the hurt that seems to permeate the world.
Give me a heart that can stretch and expand to welcome and nurture the lonely, the hurting, the weak.
Hide me in Your Most Sacred Heart, Jesus.
Enkindle my heart with Your gifts and fruits, my advocate, oh Holy Spirit.
Thank You for teaching me how to love.
1https://youaremadenew.com/2018/05/30/a-prayer-for-a-pure-heart/ by Megan Gettinger
Author of quote unknown, found on Pinterest.com
Bible verses taken from BibleGateway.com