Summary: When we have our motivation focused correctly, that is, we are doing something for God, God will honor that dedication and commitment with blessing our lives.
Title: What’s your Motivation? Part II
Scripture: Acts 23
The following is by Paul Anka & Frank Sinatra
As performed by Frank Sinatra
Hit # 27 on the Top 40 charts in 1969
And now, the end is near, and so I face, the final curtain.
My friend, I’ll say it clear,
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain.
I’ve lived, a life that’s full, I’ve traveled each and every highway.
And more, much more than this,
I did it my way.
Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention.
I did, what I had to do, and saw it through, without exemption.
I planned, each charted course, each careful step, along the byway,
and more, much more than this,
I did it my way.
Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew,
When I bit off, more than I could chew.
But through it all, when there was doubt,
I ate it up, and spit it out.
I faced it all, and I stood tall,
and did it my way.
I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried,
I’ve had my fill; my share of losing.
And now, as tears subside, I find it all so amusing.
To think, I did all that, and may I say --- not in a shy way,
"Oh no, oh no not me,
I did it my way".
For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught.
To say the things, he truly feels,
And not the words, of one who kneels.
The record shows, I took the blows ---
And did it my way!
I did it my way.
Many older men and women that have reached their golden years (which is more than 60 years old) have been asked the question, “If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently? What would you change?” Those that are selfish and full of themselves will quickly say, “Nothing! I did my way!” (Just like the song by Frank Sinatra). However, those that have reached those golden years and matured spiritually will quickly tell you a variety of things to include ones such as, “I would have prayed more.” Or, “I would have become a Christian a lot earlier in life.”
What would you change? What would you do differently? How would you re-arrange your priorities? Would you focus on the Bible more? Would you focus on missions more? Or, would you focus on evangelism?
We recently discussed What is your motivation?, which covered chapter 22 of Acts. In that message we asked that question, “What’s your motivation?” and we found out that Paul had stated to us in his epistles that his motivation was Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor. 2:2). In this chapter, we see a reiteration of that motivation but from a different direction. We see why people do what they do. The reasons:
For Conscience ? (vv. 1-5)
For Me & We? (vv. 6-10)
For God? (vv. 11)
For Tradition? (vv.12-15
For Family? (vv. 11)
For Fear? (vv. 23-35)
I. For Conscience
23:1 Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, "My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day." 2 At this the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him, "God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!" 4 Those who were standing near Paul said, "You dare to insult God’s high priest?"
5 Paul replied, "Brothers, I did not realize that he was the high priest; for it is written: ’Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.’"
Why did they slap Paul? Was it because they didn’t like what he said? Was it because people are naturally envious and jealous of people that seem to have it all together? Was it because what he said was unlawful to say? Well, I can’t really say? But, I believe these God-inspired words that Paul spoke were carefully chosen to penetrate to the heart of those listening. And they did.
Look at that sentence again.
My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.
Up to this point, Paul has enjoyed a ministry that spans 25 years, and is filled with so many adjectives that it’s difficult to write them all down at any one time. Further, Paul is quite satisfied with his life. In Philippians, chapter 1, Paul tells us:
21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.