Summary: Examines the importance of Correct Motivation

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Christians are abnormal in their motivation


- Matthew 6:1-8, 16-21.

Psychology Today magazine defines motivation as “the desire to do things. It's the difference between waking up before dawn to pound the pavement and lazing around the house all day. It's the crucial element in setting and attaining goals.”

I say that motivation is primarily “the reason you do something.” It’s the cause behind the curtain that others never see. If you lay around the house in your pajamas all day, there’s a reason. If you get up and go to work, there’s a reason. If you are unemployed, but you still get up and pound the pavement each day, or work the internet looking for a job, or you get up and garden each day, there is a reason.

What is your motivation? You see, in the eyes of the world, your motivation doesn’t necessarily matter. All the world cares about is results or what they see on the outside. Christianity is different. With Christianity it’s what’s on the inside that counts. It’s why you do what you do that really matters.

Look a little bit to your right in your Bible, there at Matthew chapter 7 and verse 21.

- Matthew 7:21-23.

You see that? Here were a group of folks doing good things. On the outside they looked pretty good. The world would have called them good people. Time magazine would have named some of these people, “Man or Woman of the Year”. The Wall Street Journal would have done an article on how much these folks were accomplishing, feeding the poor in Africa and teaching the illiterate in the inner city. Some of them would probably be household names, but Jesus said, “I never knew you.” As a matter of fact, He called these folks, “Workers of iniquity”.

Don’t know about you, but that’s not a bumper sticker I would want to have on my truck.

Why you do what you do is important.

Now, there are some motivations mentioned in the Bible, good and bad, not mentioned in this passage. For instance, the book of Proverbs describes hunger, or the stomach as a motivator, and it is. Sadly, in this country, we have to some extent destroyed that motivator by feeding everyone even if they are able but unwilling to work, completely ignoring the biblical command that “if a man will not work neither shall he eat”. That motivator is not listed in this passage, so due to our limited time, we will not address it this morning.

There are other motivators discussed at length in the Bible which we will not be covering this morning for similar reasons, but in this passage I would like you to notice both good and bad reasons for doing something.


- 6:1-2

1. It is wrong to do things simply because you want the applause of people. Now, I’m not talking about reciting a poem you’ve memorized, or singing a song. The passage here is talking about doing things for the poor. It’s talking about helping people out.

In other words, it is wrong to help people, so you can get the applause of people.

Now, that really doesn’t matter if it is the applause of the people you arte helping or the applause of your neighbors. The Bible says if you are doing just so people will pat you on the back and tell you what a good guy you are then you are doing it for the wrong reason.

2. It is wrong to do things simply because you want people to think you’re something you’re not. – v2

Verse 2 talks about the hypocrite. The word hypocrite was originally used as we use the word actor. It described a person playing a part on a stage. Later, it came to be used to describe a person pretending to be something he isn’t.

Jesus had a lot of strong words to say about hypocrites. Look, it is good to read your Bible everyday and to share those insights, if they have touched you. It is something else entirely, if you talk about your Bible or what you’ve read simply because you want other people to think you’re a spiritual person.

It is a good thing to memorize scripture and there are a number of good reasons to do so, but if you memorize scripture or help people, or read through your Bible every year, or teach children, or whatever, just because you want people to think you are a good person or that you are spiritual; you’ve blown it. Jesus says, you’ve already gotten your reward from the accolades of folk.

Doing things because you want people to think you’re something you’re not is not a good motivation.

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