I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD. —Psalm 122:1
Martin Lindstrom is one of the world’s best brand building experts. He is the author of the groundbreaking book: Buyology: The Truth and Lies About Why We Buy. His research helps corporations like Coca-Cola, Nestle, and Red Bull to market their products so people will be motivated to buy them. Time Magazine called him one the “World’s 100 Most Influential People.”
This week I read about a fascinating experiment Lindstrom did using an MRI. This experiment lead him to the conclusion that smartphones have become akin to a best friend in the lives of many people. When the subjects of his experiment heard their phone ring, their brains “fired off” neurons in the area associated with feelings of love and compassion. Lindstrom said, “It was as if they were in the presence of a girlfriend, boyfriend, or family member.”
It got me to thinking: How many Christians have a closer relationship to their cellphones than they do to the Lord Jesus Christ. How many neurons in your brain associated with love get “fired off” about spending time with Jesus in prayer, Bible study, or going to church (Ps. 122:1)!
Jesus is a better friend than any smartphone! No one loves or cares for you more than Jesus. If you pay more attention to your smartphone than you do to Jesus, your phone has become an idol in your life.
…all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.” — Acts 17:21
Everyone has seen a picture of a horse pulling a cart while a carrot is dangled in front of it’s face from a pole just out of the horse’s reach. The carrot motivates the horse to pursue it thus pulling the cart behind.
I believe many churches use the “carrot stick” method to draw people to their church. They dangle some new program or gimmick before a prospect to motivate them to visit their church. However, eventually that “carrot” gets stale and loses it’s appeal. Then they need to get some new “carrot” to dangle in front of people to keep them coming or reach new people. They are always looking for some new thing to excite people into attending their church.
It reminds me of a song by Vince Gill titled, “The Next Big Thing.” The song is about how someone can make it big with some new style or approach. But after awhile, people get bored with it and start looking for “the next big thing.” The cycle keeps repeating. As Vince sings…
When you finally hit the top, you know what that means,
Everybody’s ready for the next big thing.
I know I’m “old school” and people will say I’m behind the times. I’m not opposed to new ways of doing things. But I believe the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ is still the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). Instead of always looking for some new carrot, why not use a “carrot” that never gets stale—The simple Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Motivation of Love
“The love of Christ constraineth us.” —2 Corinthians 5:14
A “calling” is a very strong motivator. A “call” is to get you where you are at to where God wants you to be. However, in seeking to fulfill God’s call, we often fail because it is not made effectual by love. I’ve often fallen short because in my efforts to satisfy my “call” to minister, I was more concerned about “the call” than I was about the people I ministered to. I was not motivated by “the love of Christ.” My calling was my motivation. I’ve come to realize I had it backwards. The love of Christ should be the motivation to fulfill what God called me to do. The call is secondary to the love of Christ.
Charity, which is simply “love in action,” should drive our service for the Lord. If I could preach with the eloquence of the greatest orators who ever lived… If I had the understanding of the greatest theologians in church history… If I had faith to do miraculous things… If I was the most generous person in the world, but I didn’t do these things with charity, “it profiteth me nothing” (1 Cor. 13:1-3).
What motivates you? Is it your calling? Is it the task God has given you to fulfill for Him? May we say with Paul, “The love of Christ constraineth us.” All else is secondary. For faith to be effectual, it must operate in the realm of love—“Faith which worketh BY LOVE” (Gal. 5:6). “Speaking the truth IN LOVE” (Eph. 5:15). Love must drive everything we do, otherwise it is nothing.
While Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. —Acts 17:16
What moves you?
I read this week about what moves the icebergs that float in the frigid waters around Greenland. Some icebergs are small while others tower skyward. At times the small ones move in one direction while their gigantic counterparts go in another. The small ones are subject to surface winds, but the huge ice masses are carried along by deep ocean currents.
God uses various means to move us to action. Paul was moved when he saw the desperate state of Athens. He could not sit idly by with idolatry on every hand.
A desperate situation has a way of motivating a person. Consider the children of Israel at the Red Sea. It is doubtful they would have moved if it were not for Pharaoh’s army pursuing them.
After all Absalom’s requests to meet with Joab failed, Joab was finally motivated to have a meeting after Absalom set his fields on fire.
A famous paratrooper was speaking to a group of young recruits. When he had finished his prepared talk and called for questions, one young fellow raised his hand and said, “What made you decide to make your first jump?” The paratrooper’s answer was quick and to the point. “An airplane at 20,000 with three dead engines.”
Next time you find yourself in a desperate situation, consider what the Lord may be motivating you to do.