Sir Isaac Newton’s first law of motion states, “Every object will remain at rest or in uniform motion in a straight line unless compelled to change its state by the action of an external force.” If something is moving, then it will keep its path unless an outside force changes the path. And matter at rest will stay at rest unless acted upon by an outside force (which lends a whole new perspective to Sunday football watching!). The whole idea is this: it takes a force to make matter move or change paths. Without it, nothing changes.
What causes us to move or change paths, which leads me to the title of this article, “What’s Your Motivation?” People are motivated by different things- money, recognition, achievement, etc., but people are not motivated equally by the same thing.
Take for example money. Money can have both an intrinsic and an extrinsic motivational factor. In other words, some want to acquire money simply for the large bank account, while others want to acquire money for what it can buy, or a means to something else. Motivation is complicated because of the diversity in the equation – the human factor.
Can motivation come from outside of us? It certainly can. Take for example the apostles preaching the risen Christ. While they were largely uneducated, after the Holy Spirit had come upon them, they spoke with complete knowledge of the law and the prophets which amazed everyone who heard them. This was the outside force.
Many people were converted, first in Jerusalem and then outward from the city. This conversion continued to threaten the ruling class in the Jewish faith. The Sadducees were becoming increasing jealous of the message the Apostles were teaching, and had them arrested and thrown in jail. After escaping, they were found preaching in the temple courts. When they were brought before the high council, they spoke boldly, greatly angering the court who wanted to put them to death. But it was one who stood up and spoke.
This man was Gamaliel. He was a teacher of the law, probably heard the 12-year-old Jesus teaching in the temple courts, and was a close friend to Nicodemus. He reminded them if their motivation were of themselves, this movement would fade. But if their motivation were from God, to fight against them would mean the High Council would be fighting against God himself!
What’s your motivation? From where does it originate? If you have selfish desires, they may give temporary satisfaction yet fade with time. But if your motivation is of God, He will give you the words and strength to stand and speak the truth boldly, with compassion, and with grace. In reality, God will use you as He did the apostles to bless others and build up His kingdom.
Consider being motivated by an outside force this week that goes way beyond our human comprehension. If it is from God, no one will be able to stop it!