Categories
Christian Living Motivation

True Motivation

Whenever I meet someone who excels in their work, and also seems to enjoy it, I ask what motivates them.

Case and point: I have the most amazing dental hygienist! She is efficient and professional, but also caring and conscientious. So at my last appointment I asked her, “What drives you to such excellence in your work?”

I expected her to say something like she aspired to be at the top of her field, live up to her highest potential, etc. But that’s not what she said.

Instead, she told me how her own mother had lost all her teeth at a young age, and that this had negatively affected her self esteem. What drives my dental hygienist to excellence is her desire to help others protect their oral health–to avoid what her mother experienced.

Frankly, I was floored by such selfless dedication. My mind was tuned to an egotistical bandwidth, a self-centered preoccupation with gratifying my own desire to be the best. On the other hand, she was on an altruistic bandwidth, an unselfish devotion and concern for the welfare of others was her highest aim.

On my drive home, the self-sacrificial advice of Paul to the Philippians came to mind.

Do nothing out of self ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look out not only to your own personal interests, but also to the interests of others.

Philippians 2:3-4

Paul then holds up the attitude of Christ as an example; He was fully God, yet chose to become human and humbled Himself in obedience to God’s redemptive plan.

Christ literally loved us to the death!

I’m not trying to sound sacreligious, but imagine what it would have been like had Jesus been an egomaniac. This is what Satan wanted (Luke 4:1-13). It was also the desire of many of Jesus’ followers. John 6:15 says He withdrew to a mountain by Himself when he realized the people intended to make him king by force.

Maintaining a Christ-like attitude concerning the self can be a slippery slope.

As Christians we cringe when we hear the words self-centered, self-indulgent and self-serving, but what about self-sufficiency, self-confidence and self-discovery?

ALL of these involve a preoccupation with SELF.

I don’t know if my dental hygienist is a Christian, but God used her to remind me how a true believer in Jesus Christ should think.

He must become greater; I must become less.

John 3:30
My son, Clark, gave me this Jesus action figure for Christmas years ago. It’s the best present I’ve ever received.

Categories
Christian Living forgiveness

Are You My Daddy?

One of my favorite books as a child was, Are You My Mother?, by P.D. Eastman. In the story, a baby bird hatches while his mother is away from the nest. He falls to the ground and immediately begins to search for her, but doesn’t know what she looks like. The little hatchling meets several animals, and even a few machines, and asks each of them, “Are you my mother?” Finally, the baby bird is returned to the nest–just as his mom arrives with a worm.

The Bible has a version of this story. In the final days of His earthly life, Jesus returns to Jerusalem just before Passover. He’s overcome with emotion when the city comes into view and says this:

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often have I longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate.

Matthew 23:37

The Israelites had ‘left the nest’ yet again, and were not seeking to return. Time after time in the Bible we find God’s people asking everything they see, “Are you my daddy?” And, just like the baby bird in the story, they have NO IDEA of their REAL predicament. When Jesus says, “Look, your house is left to you desolate,” He refers to the ultimate destruction of the temple in Jerusalem (in 79 AD) and God’s rejection of His people (Jeremiah 12:7).

Isn’t idolatry (even in ignorance) still a problem today? It’s easy to stray from the nest. And Christians are not immune to the lure of the three S’s: sin, self, and stuff.

A recent devotional in, Our Daily Bread, highlights the tendency to trust in just-in-case idols. The old hymn, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms, becomes Leaning on the Ever-lesser Arms, when we trust in our own intelligence, abilities, or possessions more than God.

Nevertheless, a loving Father awaits the return of all stray hatchlings to the nest.

He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge.

Psalm 91:4

Who’s Your Daddy?

https://davidsdailydose.org/2020/10/17/whos-your-daddy/

Categories
Christian Living devotional

A Winning Formula

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

After I left full-time ministry, but before I became a teacher, I spent three years in sales with Frito Lay, Inc. I was a Route Sales Rep, which is a front-line position selling salty snacks to grocery and convenience stores.

One day, my boss was helping me set up a huge display of potato chips at a grocery store. It was five in the morning, and I had eleven more accounts to visit that day, so I was in a bit of a rush. Pulling a large cart stacked high with boxes of potato chips, I turned a corner too sharply and clipped a huge display of pancake syrup at the end of an aisle. Several glass bottles crashed to the floor, creating a growing pool of sticky brown goo.

I know big boys aren’t supposed to cry, but looking at the mess I’d just made, I started to lose it. To my surprise, my supervisor didn’t berate me. Instead, he came over, put his hands on my shoulders, and said, “Are you ok?”

That’s how it really went down. No joke!

“These things happen,” he said calmly, “I once dropped a pallet of milk off a loading dock!” He then showed me a neat trick: pouring corn meal on icky messes makes them more manageable. After applying a few boxes to the chestnut colored goop, I was able to scrape up the whole mess and finish stocking my display.

My boss knew just how to help me recover from a set back. Instead of coming unglued, he came alongside, giving me the tools to cope with a challenging situation.

Years later, I analyzed what he did, and figured out his winning formula:

How to Come Alongside Someone in Need

  • Ask – “Are you OK?” Recognize that all is not well.
  • Acknowledge – “These things happen sometimes. I once did something similar.” Identify with the situation.
  • Assist – “Let me show you a trick for cleaning this up.” Offer to help.

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:12

Triple-A: it’s a winning formula for helping others.