TODAY’S READING: JOB 25-30
Why do I do the things that I do? What is my motivation?
Is my motivation the praise and approval of man?
Or, is my motivation the love of God?
If I am honest, then I would have to admit that far more often than I would like it to be that my motivation is the praise and approval of man.
In Job 29, Job longs for the days “when God watched over me.” Job gives a long list of the things that he misses. Yes, Job does mention God’s light leading him through darkness and God’s friendship with him. But, he spending a lot more time recounting the way that men used to reach to him “when God watched over” him, providing him a large family and riches and power and a place among men.
The list of of what Job misses provides a view into his motivation. His motivation was the way young men perceived him in the gate of the city and the square, which were places of authority and judgment. Job’s motivation was the way old men respected him and princes became quiet in his presence to hear what he had to say.
Job helped the poor and the fatherless. But, part of his motivation for doing so was that when the ears of others heard they called him blessed and when the eyes of others saw they approved of his actions.
Then Job took credit for being eyes to the blind, feet to the lame, a father to the needy, and the breaker of the fangs of the unrighteous (the defender of the powerless).
What was his motivation?
“Men listened to me and waited and kept silence for my counsel. After I spoke they did not speak again, and my word dropped upon them.” (Job 29:21-22)
Then, in Job 30:1, he lamented, “But now they laugh at me.”
In John 5:41-44, Jesus said, “I do not receive glory from people. But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?”
Jesus lived his whole life to glorify God because the love of God was within him. Everything Jesus did had one motivation – the love of God. This is why in Matthew 22:37 Jesus said the greatest commandment was “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
In Job 30:24-26, Job said, “Yet does not one in a heap of ruins stretch out his hand, and in his disaster cry for help? Did not I weep for him whose day was hard? Was not my soul grieved for the needy? But when I hoped for good, evil came, and when I waited for light, darkness came?”
Basically, Job is saying I the right things – wept with those who were suffering and grieving with those in need – yet I got nothing out of it. I hoped for good and got evil, light and got darkness.
In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, your workers of lawlessness.'”
Jesus said it was not about the works we do among men. The kingdom of heaven is about your motivation behind the works. Like Job, we say, “Look what I did Jesus.” But, if our motivation was the glory from men, then Jesus says, “I never knew you.” Or, “You didn’t love me.”
Paul knew that, just as Jesus said, the motivation for everything needed to be the love of God. In 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, Paul said, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”
Whatever you do, if the motivation was not the love of God, then it was worthless. Therefore, Paul said in Colossians 3:22-24, “Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward.”
So, we need to honestly search our hearts. What is my motivation for everything I do – from the smallest to the greatest action, from the routine to the extraordinary? If we truly seek to know our motivations, then Jesus will be faithful to perfect us so that our only motivation is the love of God.