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As I commence my Youth Day Conference address on the topic of motivation, I do so by reading a few verses of Scripture as found in the Gospel of Luke, the 19th chapter: “And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house. And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.”
I believe what we find here in the story of Zacchaeus is a biblical example of motivation.
Motivation is a term used more frequently today than in years past. You will not find the word motivation anywhere in the Scriptures, but you will find many motivated people. The word motivation came into vogue with the study of contemporary psychology. A simple synonym would be, drive. One who is motivated is stimulated or driven by a desire or a need.
Motivation, then, can be defined simply as that which causes activity to be performed in pursuit of a goal.
Zacchaeus was motivated to see Jesus. We know this desire was placed in his heart by the Holy Spirit. Before the world was, Cod, in His providence, set this chain of events. He was driven; he was stimulated; the Bible says he “sought” to see Jesus. The activity performed in pursuit of that goal was that he “ran” and he “climbed.” He ran before the multitude and climbed up into the sycamore tree.
Today, in many different environments, you will find motivation as the topic of conferences and seminars. Volumes have been written; library shelves are full of books on the subject of motivation.
Industry, manufacturing companies around the country, in fact, most of the western world, are conducting studies on how to motivate their work force. Companies are offering, in some cases requiring, their employees to attend seminars and workshops on motivation. This is the direct result of competition; foreign competition has become a real threat to our manufacturing companies.
Beyond manufacturing, the service industry is finding it necessary to address motivational programs. An example would be health care; hospitals are encouraging their staff to attend workshops on motivation. Again, competition in health care is very keen.
This morning I would like to talk a little about religious motivation. Some weeks ago I found myself, with my wife, at one of our local shopping malls. In this mall was an Armed Services Recruiting Office. My attention was focused on a poster which read “Today’s Army: Be all that you can be.” That phrase stayed with me; my thoughts wondered with it. That evening when we returned home, our babysitter gave us a message that Rev. Beeke had called and wanted to know what my topic was for today’s conference. Considering my thoughts of the past few hours, the phrase on that poster motivated me to speak on our topic of motivation.
Are we as a church, as a peer group or generation with the church, or as individuals, being all that we can be? As I meditated on that question, I became sadly aware of the lethargy found in our churches. I had to regretfully acknowledge that we are not being all that we can be.
Why do I feel a need to address you on religious motivation? I said earlier that other environments were doing so because of competition. Does the church have competition among your peer group? I suspect the competition is keener today than it has been in any previous generation. There are all types of worldly entertainment at your finger tips. Movies, television, mind-altering substances, to name but a few. We need to be motivated negatively regarding the temptations of the world. Not only the world but other churches — with their “feel-good” religions, their easier ways to salvation. We are admonished time and again in God’s Word to not yield to the enticements so readily available. The Apostle Paul tells us, “Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of Cod.” John admonishes us, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.” James says, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptations.” The psalmist writes in Psalm 1, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners.”
My friends, pray that God may enable you to fight the temptations of Satan — the temptations of our naturally wicked hearts. Pray for the grace of Paul who could say, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me.”
But let us look at positive motivation; and again I must ask you, as a generation within the denomination, are you being all that you can be in your church life and in your personal life? Are you praying for God’s blessing on the efforts of our churches? Are you attending and participating in all the functions of the church —not only Sunday services but mid-week as well? If your church has youth group meetings, are you attending? Are you going to the Sunday School, the Bible Study groups, the sing-a-longs? Are you participating in your church choir? Our choir directors say they have need for more young people. Where are you?
What about your talents? Are you musically inclined? Are you directing your efforts toward playing the church organ? Do you enjoy being with children? Are you volunteering to take a turn in your church nursery? Have you considered an academic career? Our schools are in need of teachers from our churches. What about you able-bodied young men; have you ever considered asking the custodian if there was anything you could do to help him? My friends, I’m talking about being motivated in our church life!
What about your free time? Are you making any effort to visit the sick, aged and shut-ins? You need not be a minister, elder, or deacon to visit. You would be amazed at the joy you would bring some aged member of your church, as well as to yourself, if you were to pay the shut-ins a visit.
My friends, where have you placed your priorities? What are you doing with the gifts God gives you? Many of you who are still in school have part-time jobs, others finished with school have full-time employment but not yet family commitments; are you financially contributing adequately to the causes of the church? Or, are you more concerned about fashionable clothes and the fast, sporty automobile?
As a generation, are you motivated to be aware of and concerned about the many moral and social issues that will confront you in the very near future? Your parents’ and grandparents’ generations had many contemporary issues that concerned them. Your generation will have tenfold more. The issue of abortion is a sincere concern to us today, but have you any idea of what is coming in the very near future? — surrogacy, euthanasia, infanticide, genetic alterations, to name but a few. These are the issues you will be confronted with. The moral implications of medical technology produced in the next few years must be a major concern to us. The issues coming to the fore, which are being experimented now, are mind-boggling.
Are you aware of governmental intervention in churches and Christian schools? This tyranny, unfolding in the realm of religious freedom, is a very real threat to what we have been taking for granted. One after another, laws are enacted imposing restraints on our schools and churches.
Young people, we need to be motivated, motivated to prayer; as Paul says to the Thessalonians, “Pray without ceasing,” for Cod’s intervention in these matters. Pray that God forbids a total abolition of all that is sacred.
But in addition to prayer, there is activity to be performed. James, in his epistle, refers to “doers of the word.” Along with a need to be aware of contemporary and future concerns; along with prayer for God’s intervention, there are deeds you can perform. We find frequently in the Banner of Truth encouragement to write an elected official protesting or supporting an issue. Have you ever done so? If not, why not? Are you supporting the efforts of organizations involved in these issues — organizations such as Right to Life?
My friends, we wish you to be motivated with a sense of urgency, to avoid the evils, be active in good doing, be aware of the threat to our beliefs and freedoms, and be doers of the word. To be motivated in the right spirit is to be so with a sense of piety. Devotion, not duress, is the only acceptable motivation of godly activity. When we think of duty and responsibility, piety is the performance of duty with delight. We read of the psalmist, “I delight to do thy will,” and again, “I will delight in thy statutes.”
And now permit me to ask you personally: Are you being all you can be, pertaining to things eternal? What is your relationship to God? I know, and trust you believe, that salvation cannot be merited. Grace is a gift of God. Our works without faith are dead. The doctrine of God’s sovereignty must and shall be preserved. But Christ also said, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate.” We are reminded in God’s Word, time and again, to be diligent. “He that diligently seeketh good procureth favor,” Solomon said. Paul says in Hebrews, “He is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”
I said earlier that I was alarmed by the lethargy found in our churches. Are you indifferent about eternity? Are you waiting to see if the Lord will convert you? Or are you lovingly embracing all the means of grace? Are you motivated to seek the Lord? Are you praying daily for Him to reveal something of Himself to you? Are you doing as we are commanded, to “Search the Scriptures?” When you enter God’s house, are you praying for a blessing? Are you listening to the sermon preached or read? Are you praying for the minister or the elder conducting the service? After the service, are you going home, taking your study Bibles and re-reading the Scripture lesson, perhaps referencing the marginal notes for other passages of Scripture? Are you studying the prophecies and the fulfillment of them? Are you finding the harmony of the gospels? Are you finding the commonality of the epistles? Does our heart sing with the Psalms of David? I said something about a study Bible; do you have one? If not, get one! This is also part of what is meant by being diligent in these matters! The Word of God is the means of grace! David says in Psalm 1, blessed is the man whose “delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night.” Again in Psalm 145, “The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon Him, to all that call upon Him in truth.”
Above all, pray for the Holy Spirit, who is the best motivater, to be your motivation.
Motivation, I said, was that which causes activity in pursuit of a goal. What should the goal be? Paul said it to the Philippians, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Zacchaeus achieved his goal plus so much more. He sought to see… he ran to see… he climbed to see… but before he saw, he was seen. Jesus said, “Zaccheaus, make haste, and come down: for today I must abide at thy house.” Later on, Jesus said, “This day is salvation come to this house.”
Young people, young people of the Netherlands Reformed Congregations — seek grace to be all that you can be, using God’s means faithfully, praying for His indispensable blessing.
B. Densel serves as deacon in the Netherlands Reformed Congregation of Covell Ave., Grand Rapids, Michigan.
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Bekijk de hele uitgave van zaterdag 1 oktober 1988
The Banner of Truth | 28 Pagina's
Bekijk de hele uitgave van zaterdag 1 oktober 1988
The Banner of Truth | 28 Pagina's