This past week I had a very interesting conversation with a friend over breakfast. He is one of those quick minded people who is constantly analyzing the world around him as it relates to himself. Unlike most he does this consciously, deliberately which is a trait I much admire.
During this conversation the subject of motivation came up. Why do we do what we do? When pressed to me I had to confess that I believe that life is about service. Therefore my motivations are my service to others as that will indirectly be my service to my God.
As is the case with many good conversations, my thinking didn't end when the conversation did. I continued to ponder whether my answer was complete, and if my walk in life lived up to my talk in the conversation. Naturally, my mind bent towards money.
In my heart I know that the motivation for giving money should be based on my need to respond to God's gifts, not on the need of someone else to receive my gift.
My motivation for giving should not be a church need or another need even; no matter how worthy that need might be. The needs might be totally legitimate, but that isn't the point. They are just not supposed to be the motivation behind the giving, the service, the commitment.
Giving and service should be motivated out of the abundance of blessings that God has bestowed on my life and my ongoing desire to respond by giving back to my God with my whole life. If gratitude is sincere, it should impact me; there should be a cost. If it does not, then you aren't really acknowledging that you have been impacted. You are dismissing the value of the blessing when you respond without equal measure. Since I've been given life, my response must be my life!
I once heard the story of a mother who took her young son to church. As they were leaving, the mother shook the hands of the preacher, and then she said, "Caleb, shake the preachers hand." Johnnie didn't put his hand out. The mother asked again. He still didn't put his hand out. Then she said again, "Caleb, shake hands with the preacher." At that, little Caleb opened his fist and out rolled the three marbles that he had been holding on to tightly. Little Caleb didn't want to shake hands because he didn't want to give up his marbles. How often do you give up your marbles?
Have you ever seen a raccoon trap? They use a basket with tiny hole in the top and they put food inside. The raccoon will reach in and grab the food, usually nuts, but won't be able to get its hand out holding the nuts. The raccoon will stay there holding the nuts because it won't let it go even when the trapper comes. Are you willing to let go of your nuts?