Ed made only $4.25 an hour and he wasn't too happy about that. When the foreman asked him to dig the mud out of a form for a driveway, Ed dug without enthusiasm. Later, when the foreman observed Ed's half-hearted efforts, he said, "I'm going to need you to push that shovel a little faster." Ed replied, "For $4.25 an hour, this is as fast as I push." "Then come to the office," the foreman said. "We'll get your final paycheck."

Proverbs 18:9 declares, "He who is slack in his work is a brother to him who destroys." If we don't obey God's command to work with all our hearts, perhaps our motivation has been stolen. Motivation is not stolen by adverse circumstances, but by wrong thinking about those circumstances.

Wrong Thoughts: The Thieves of Motivation

1) I don't receive enough salary. I don't get paid what I deserve, so I guess I work down to the level of my compensation. I don't mean to complain, but my company gets what they pay for.

2) I don't receive the recognition I deserve from my superiors. It's hard not to feel bitter. It's discouraging to give it all I've got and never get a pat on the back or a word of thanks, much less a bonus or a promotion. I don't want to work half-heartedly, but when even my best work is not appreciated, what's the use?

3) My work is secular. If I were involved in ministry, I'd be motivated, but it's hard to get excited about work with no eternal value.

4) My boss is a *%!&@*#. If I work hard, it will make my boss look good, and frankly I don't want him to look good. I've talked to my co-workers. Believe me, I'm not the only one who feels this way.

God's solution, revealed in the following passage, destroys these thieves of motivation and transforms our work lives. It makes us more alive and brings joy to our daily tasks.

Col. 3:22-25 Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not with eyeservice, as menpleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever your task, work with all of your heart, as serving the Lord and not men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward.

It would be hard to imagine circumstances much more adverse than those faced by these slaves, yet Paul is instructing them to please God by working with all of their hearts.

Those who think they can't be motivated unless they are paid more should consider that these slaves didn't get paid at all.

To those demotivated by dislike for their boss or by not getting enough recognition, Paul says, "You're working for the wrong boss! Don't work as unto men! Work as a Godpleaser. It is from the Lord that you will receive your reward!" Looking to a different Rewarder brings contentment, inspiration, and diligence.

Lastly, those demotivated by the thought that their work is secular should take note that Paul is not writing to ministers; he's writing to slaves. He reveals a vitally important principle:

No work is secular if it's done for the glory of God.

We can please God and earn eternal reward--whatever the task! Ephesians 6:5 says to work "with fear and trembling, to Christ." If we simply see the truth about our awesome opportunity each day in our work--to serve the living God and to earn eternal reward--it would cause us to tremble!

Jamie Lash                     

(assisted by Brent Wallace)






 Jamie Lash    LifeGivingWords
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