Illustration results for motives
K. Edward "Ed" Skidmore
I remember a Youth Minister saying years ago "My problem is not motivating people; My problem is people DE-motivating me!" From years in ministry I have learned the hard way that People will disappoint you. People will oppose you. People will see themselves in competition with you. Sometimes in your own family. (even in your church family!) And I must admit that it can be a real downer to see your fiercest opposition coming from other Christians.
But Paul was able to see beyond the petty attitudes of these competitive Christians. He said, "But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice." Philippians 1:18
THE LOVE OF CHRIST ALONE
When Hudson Taylor was director of the China Inland Mission, he often interviewed candidates for the mission field. On one occasion, he met with a group of applicants to determine their motivations for service. "And why do you wish to go as a foreign missionary?" he asked one.
He replied "I want to go because Christ has commanded us to go into all the world..."
Another said, "I want to go because millions are perishing without Christ."
Others gave different answers.
Then Hudson Taylor said, "All of these motives, however good, will fail you in times of testings, trials, tribulations, and possible death. There is but one motive that will sustain you in trial and testing; namely, the love of Christ."
Do you guys remember the cartoon with Wiley Coyote and Ralph the sheep dog. I use to love that cartoon. Every morning Ralph and Wiley would meet at the time clock which was mounted on a tree. As they clocked in they would great each other and then they would go to their respective departments.
Ralph the sheep dog went to his post on the cliff and took his position as head of the sheep protection department. Wiley, true to his nature, would slink away in to the forest to plan his strategy as head of the sheep acquisition and consumption department.
As the day wore on Ralph sat patiently at his post with a protective eye looking over the flock as Wiley tried one scheme after another in hopes of making his quota of sheep for the day. However, no matter how hard he tried it seemed that poor Wiley’s plan was always thwarted by Ralph at the last moment. Inevitably as the day drew to a close just before the whistle blew, Wiley would pull out all the stops and slip into his sheep costume and meander into the fold with the hope of finally catching his prey only to realize after his pray was in fact none other than Ralph the sheep dog who had dressed himself up as a sheep in anticipation of Wiley’s scheme. Poor Wiley never caught a break.
Wiley’s sheep costume illustrates a tactic that is used by our enemy the devil. In fact in Matthew 7.15 Jesus warns us that in similar fashion Satan will send ravenous wolves into the fold dressed in sheep’s clothing to catch the sheep unaware and snatch them away by false teaching. As we learned last week Satan will do what ever he can to destroy the flock. Therefore, it is imperative that we have discerning spirits so that we can discern the motives of those who are among us.
However, our generation, as I’m sure it has been in generations past, I believe the greatest danger to the work of the Kingdom of God is not as much when wolves come in dressed as sheep, but it is when the sheep go in to the world dressed in wolves clothing. The greater problem in modern American Christianity is when “so called” Christians wear their sheep’s clothing on Sunday only to put on their wolves clothing on Monday.
Motives are critical!
An elderly man on the beach found a magic lamp. He picked it up and a genie
appeared. "Because you have freed me," the genie said, "I will grant you a
wish." The man thought for a moment and then responded, "My brother and I had
a fight 30 years ago and he hasn’t spoken to me since. I wish that he’ll
finally forgive me."
There was a thunderclap, and the genie declared, "Your wish has been granted.
You know," the genie continued, "most men would have asked for wealth or fame.
The story goes that when the company founded by Andrew Carnegie was taken over by the U.S. Steel Corporation in 1901 it acquired as one of its obligations a contract to pay the top Carnegie executive, Charles M. Schwab, the then unheard of minimum sum of $1,000,000. J.P. Morgan of U.S. Steel was in a quandary about it. The highest salary on record was then $100,000. He met with Schwab, showed him the contract and hesitatingly asked what could be done about it.
“This,” said Schwab, as he took the contract and tore it up. That contract had paid Schwab $1,300,000 the year before. “I didn’t care what salary they paid me,” Schwab later told a Forbes magazine interviewer. “I was not animated by money motives. I believed in what I was trying to do and I wanted to see it brought about. I cancelled that contract without a moment’s hesitation. Why do I work? I work for just the pleasure I find in work, the satisfaction there is in developing things, in creating. Also, the associations business begets. The person who does not work for the love of work, but only for money, is not likely to make money nor to find much fun in life.” (Bits and Pieces, May, 1991, p. 2.)
RIGHT PRAYER FOR THE WRONG REASON
I began teaching during the Wednesday night prayer meetings seven months ago. Suppose I prayed every day for all those months for God to make us into a praying church. Suppose I prayed morning, noon, and night for God to make us a praying church. Suppose I prayed both persistently and fervently for God to make us a praying church.
God commands us to pray. We know that it is his will. When we pray, we are being obedient. Every time the church prayed in Acts, they received power and God received glory. Praying for God to make us a praying church is praying for the right thing. But it is still possible to ask for the wrong reason.
Suppose, while praying daily for God to make us a praying church, I picture myself teaching about prayer before we pray. The sanctuary is filled to capacity, even though it is not full on Sunday mornings. The balcony is filled to capacity, even though it is not even used on Sunday mornings. All eyes are on me. I announce the scripture. The sudden rush of turning pages is almost thunderous. Then, it is quiet, as everyone waits for me to read. I read. I teach. Through-out the sanctuary, people can be seen feverishly taking notes. The sound of my teaching is repeatedly punctuated by shouts of "Amen!" and "Yes, Lord!" and "Hallelujah!" Everyone is hanging on my every word.
When it is time to pray, groups form everywhere. Prayers raise the roof and heaven comes down. When the glory can no longer be contained, we march out, ready to take Everman for Christ, or die trying.
Suppose, while praying daily for God to make us a praying church, all that is in my mind. Do you think I am praying for God's glory, or my own? I am praying for the right thing, but am I praying with the right motive?
WHAT DOES "ALL" MEAN?
I know people who are carrying around a load of guilt over the past and they're loaded down with this extra weight God doesn't want them to have.
I remember a lady in my church in Wiesbaden I'll call Jill. Jill had rebelled against her parents, had been on drugs, had had three abortions, had cheated on her previous husband resulting in their divorce, and before they had gotten saved had cheated on the husband she was now married to then. She was carrying a lot of guilt, and though she was now saved, she felt she had to atone for her past somehow by works and deeds for God. We all should work for God, but our motive should be to serve Him out of love, not out of guilt.
One day her husband asked me over to talk to her and him because they were having a lot of marital strife. I did and she told me about this awful load of guilt for past sins she was carrying around which had produced a lot of tension in her life that spread to her family.
We looked at scripture after scripture about God's forgiveness of our sins. But she just couldn't seem to feel forgiveness for her abortions. It wasn't until I quoted over and over to her 1 John 1:7, "...and the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanses us from ALL sin." I said, "Jill, what does the word 'ALL' mean?" Suddenly the light of God's Word broke through and the tears of joy flowed, and her life was forever transformed. She learned how to serve out of joy and love, not out of guilt and shame.
If you're carrying a load of guilt, claim 1 John 1:9 and ask forgiveness of the Lord and if you've offended any person, go and make it right. Then you can experience the joy of forgiveness and peace and drop your burden! But never take up the burden of yesterday again, for it will just weigh you down from doing your duties today.
The church service ended at the Lutheran Church in New Sweden, Maine as everyone “passed the peace.” It was the first Sunday after Easter, and the 50 people in attendance headed to the fellowship hour to have some coffee. Some of the people complained that the coffee was bitter, but people usually complain about church coffee, so they didn’t think much about it until some people began to get violently ill. By the end of the day, 16 people were hospitalized and one of them would die by the next morning. Police discovered that arsenic had been dumped into the 30-cup coffee maker, making this the nation’s worst case of mass arsenic poisoning. The next shock was that a well-respected member of the church, 53-year-old Danny Bondeson, a potato farmer, was found dead at home from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He left a note implicating himself in the poisoning. The investigation is now expanding to other members of the Bondeson family, whom police suspect may have been involved in the poisonings.
The story behind the story at this point seems to be that there was a disagreement in the church about a communion table. For years the church had a communion table that was against the wall, and the blessing of the bread and wine was done while facing the wall. The Bondeson family had donated a new altar so that the bread and wine could be done while facing the congregation. But traditions die hard, and the board seemed unwilling to replace the old altar, even though a new one had been donated, because they did not want to offend some of those who wanted the bread and wine blessed while facing the wall like it had always been done. Speculation is that not only Bondeson, but other members of his extended family, had become as bitter as the church coffee and decided to teach some people a lesson.
Was the Bondeson family giving for the g...
THE MORE EXCELLENT WAY
I remember a sermon – years ago, in fact I think I may have preached it during my time here as an intern – where my opening illustration was the difference between the way my father chopped wood and the way I chopped it. You may remember the scene – me as a skinny 18 year-old trying to impress my forty-five year-old dad by going as fast and hard as I was able. I would swing with my whole body, big looping strokes as fast as I could until I was forced to pause, huffing and puffing. I would swing five or six or seven real hard times and then rest for a minute or so before going on.
But my dad, my old, out-of-shape dad who I was certain I could work circles around – he established a rhythm, taking his time. He used measured, slow, controlled swings – steady as a drum beat. While I was huffing and puffing, he was steadily thudding away, breaking log after log and stacking it neatly into the woodshed. By the time mom called us for lunch, dad had outpaced me, stacking twice as much wood.
You know, what I learned that day was a more excellent way. Not just a more excellent way of chopping wood, but a more excellent way of approaching life. If we were to break-down the reasons for why my dad’s approach is so much more excellent than my approach probably last on the list of reasons would be that dad’s way was so much more productive. Although in a world where utility or usefulness is considered the greatest virtue – let’s face it, we like things that work well and honor those who are high capacity type-people – in that kind of world, you might think productivity would be at the top of the list, but that really isn’t what makes dad’s way more excellent. It has to do with what is in view, what motive drives the work.
You see, I was interested in impressing – I wanted props for how strong I was, how powerful my swings were, how fast I was. I wanted someone to notice that I was a fine physical specimen who split the daylights out of the wood. I was interested in showing my dad that I was better than he was at splitting wood, that I was the future and he was the past.
Now all this is really hilarious if you know that I was 5’10” and weighed a whopping 120-125 at the time. I may have been 130, but that was about it. I was not a fine physical specimen – I was skinny little punk who obviously thought way too much of himself and way too little of my dad. I was focused on what the work could do for me, where as dad saw his work as service. The family needed wood for the stove – dad chopped wood. His satisfaction came from seeing his family warm – that’s what motivated him.
Dad’s desire to provide fueled his effort and informed his approach to the wood pile. He knew it didn’t matter how fast you swung the axe – what mattered is how well you placed the stroke. If you wanted to have the wood split and put away before winter came, slow and steady won the race.
Wade Hughes, Sr
Flag Folding & The Meaning of Each Fold!
I guess this settles the "One Nation Under God" debate once and for all.
Do you know that at military funerals, the 21 gun salute stands for the sum of the numbers in the year 1776?
Have you ever noticed the honor guard pays meticulous attention correctly folding the American flag 13 times?
You probably thought it was to symbolize the original 13 colonies, but we learn something new every day!
The 1st fold of our flag is a symbol of life.
The 2nd fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life.
The 3rd fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing our ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.
The 4th fold represents our weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance.
The 5th fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decaur, "Our Country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong.
The 6th fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that We pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States Of America, and the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.
The 7th fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that we protect our country and our flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.
The 8th fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day.
The 9th fold is a tribute to womanhood, and Mothers. For it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great has been molded.
The 10th fold is a tribute to the father, for he too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense
of our country since they were first born.
The 11th fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies in the Hebrews’ eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The 12th fold represents an emblem of eternity
and glorifies, in the Christians’ eyes, God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.
The 13th fold, or when the flag is completely
folded, the stars are uppermost reminding us of
our nation’s motto, "In God We Trust."
After the flag is completely folded and tucked in,
it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever
reminding us of the soldiers who served under
General George Washington, and the Sailors
and Marines who served under Captain John
Paul Jones, who were followed by their
comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces
of the United States, preserving for us the rights,
privileges and freedoms we enjoy today.
There are some traditions and ways of doing
things that have deep meaning. In the future,
you’ll see flags folded and now you will know why.