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The Motivation of Love

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.



“They understood not…” —John 8:27

A woman was waiting at an airport to board her plane.  She went to a vending machine and bought a small package of cookies. Then she sat down and began reading a newspaper. Soon, she became aware of a rustling noise. From behind her paper she was surprised to see a neatly dressed man helping himself to the package of cookies. Not wanting to make a scene, she leaned over and took a cookie herself.

A minute or two passed, and then came more rustling. He was helping himself to another cookie. By this time, they had come to the end of the package. She was so angry, she didn’t dare allow herself to say anything. Then, as if to add insult to injury, the man broke the last cookie in two and pushed half across to her, and ate the other half then left.

Still fuming some time later when her flight was announced, the woman opened her handbag to get her ticket. To her amazement and embarrassment, there was her unopened package of cookies!

Wrong assumptions lead to many of our misunderstandings.   After 40 years of pastoral counseling I’ve come to the conclusion that many conflicts are the result of misunderstandings. Misunderstandings break relationships and cause needless hurts.

David’s older brother Eliab misunderstood David’s presence at the battle with the Philistines (1 Sam. 17:17-18, 28).  David’s offer of condolences and kindness to Hanun was misunderstood as a prelude to war (2 Sam. 10:1-5).

In Joshua 22:11-34 the tribes of Gad, Reuben, and Manasseh settled on the east side of the Jordan.  They built an altar on the banks of the river. The tribes on the west side assumed they were rebelling against God and starting their own religion.   Before beginning an all out civil war, Phineas led a delegation to learn the truth—to get the other side of the story. He found out the altar was a memorial to the Lord, not an altar of heathen sacrifice. War was averted and unity restored.

Beware of jumping to conclusions without knowing ALL the facts and both sides of a story (Prov. 18:13).  Try to give a person the benefit of the doubt.

What should you do when your intentions are misunderstood?  It is best to leave the matter with God who knows the truth and your real motives (1 Pet. 2:23).