Yesterday we touched on the thought of motivation, the premise being that Jesus' love should be our base motivator of life. Some people never really find motivation for much in life and seem content to just make it through each day. I ask you, isn't life too short to live it in this manner? I would hope that each of us feel deeply about the things we do, even if some of those things are as bland as buying groceries. It is possible to be passionate even about groceries when we examine our reason for doing it.
Why do I buy groceries? Of course so that I can eat but it goes far beyond myself; I buy groceries because God has given me four great kids to look after with his love and he has provided me the resources to do it. I must handle those resources wisely and provide the best nutrition for my children. I could throw any kind of food in that grocery cart but I would not be honouring my God by giving the very best to those he gave me to love and raise. So I dive into it with the passion that is motivated by his love. I research the best foods, what children need to grow healthy, I read labels and plan good menus, I cut coupons and hunt for bargains because I have permitted it to become a passion.
Why do I cycle everywhere? I have a car, I could drive everywhere or at least drive to the more difficult places. I could just cycle on weekends to get a bit of exercise and to feel good about myself. However, I have permitted myself to become passionate about cycling because I am convinced that I am honouring God with a good use of available resources and with the good health with which he has provided me. I owe it to him to be a good steward of my environment and my health because his love for me and this world is my motivation. I do not like doing anything half-measure because Jesus told us that he does not like anything lukewarm. For God it is all or nothing, and that is the reason why I think we dishonour God with mediocre living.
I have given a couple of examples from my own living but let's consider for a moment the more important example of the mission we have been given. This is the mission which God left us in this world to complete, the purpose of our living, the reason we have all that we have. Let's be honest, when it comes to making disciples, as Jesus instructed us to do, most of us are mediocre. There are not many in the Body of Christ who would describe themselves as being passionate about souls. I was considering this point as I stood shoulder to shoulder with people in a crowded amusement park yesterday. The reality was that I was amongst the walking dead, 99% not knowing the truth about Jesus. I looked around at a group of Jewish children, hundreds of Muslim families, several Hindus, thousands of agnostics, and many other thousands worshiping plenty of idols and ideas. These people were all lost and dead, and what was I doing about it? What are we doing about it as we stand shoulder to shoulder with these people every day? If they were drowning would we not try to save them? If they were in a burning building would we not try to rescue them? Honestly, don't I feel anything toward these dear people who God loves as much as he loves me and who Jesus said to go make disciples out of them? How come I do not feel the same passion for them as I feel toward my bike?
We feel passionate about the things we are convinced of as being true. I am responsible for my children so I am passionate about it. I am responsible for my health and my environment so I am passionate about it. I am responsible for giving the dying a fighting chance to live; am I convinced of that truth? Am I convinced that my Heavenly Father has made me a co-worker in this mission to save the lost? Am I convinced that I have this responsibility toward them? I know the words as well as you:
As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain. (2 Cor. 6:1)
But as long as we are being honest, how much of the Word do we pick and choose to live? Sure we confess it and testify to its truth, but how much do we set aside because we are not convinced of it or it is too inconvenient? When we are passionate about something there is never anything that is too inconvenient. Our favourite band comes to town, we find a way to be there. A movie is released that we really want to see, we find a way to see it. We pull off the impossible, we sacrifice whatever the cost when it is something we are passionate about, so this should tell us how we feel toward the great mission we have been given.
All I am saying here this morning is that we should not be so content with ourselves as we often are and we need to make the effort to see the truth of who we are and what we believe. If Jesus' love is our motivation in living then it should be our motivation in all things. If it isn't our motivation then we are not who we have fooled ourselves into believing we are. We need to be able to be honest with ourselves enough to say, I am not who I want to be. It is when we realize what we are lacking that we are able to start seeking what truly fulfills us. Too often we come up with excuses for our lack; I have not been gifted in that way; it is not my calling; it is the responsibility of an evangelists; I am too shy; I have no idea what to say. As far as I can tell we have all been called to the same mission and it will take all of us becoming passionate about it to see it through. Jesus did not say we need to pray about souls because he told us the fields are ready for harvest. Instead, he told us to pray for workers to work these fields. Why are so many people lost to the truth when we are better equipped than ever before to share the truth with them? Because we are not convinced of the mission. Only being convinced of Jesus' love will convince us of our mission.