by Rhonda Rhea
When I go to an outdoor event in the summer, it’s tough for me to get motivated to do anything except sit there and…be hot. I have to tell you, I don’t suffer pretty.
Sometimes I do at least try to motivate myself to be the person who guards the food. Shooing flies mostly. Also standing there and being appropriately appalled at how long the mayonnaise has been sitting out.
You’d think the motivation would return as soon as I get back into the gloriously air-conditioned house. But it’s not always so. There are comfy chairs in those air-conditioned places that are often the enemies of the things I need to accomplish.
Sometimes when I’m ready to get up out of a comfy chair and get going on a to-do list, my brain suddenly says, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. Just where do you think you’re going?” Then it knocks me back into the chair and brutishly sends me vibes about potato chips, pizza pockets and mocha latte smoothies. I can hear my brain snickering manically at that point because it knows it always has me at “smoothie.”
But hey, just because I’m still sitting doesn’t mean I’m not working [insert sound of crunching chips] because at least I’m thinking really hard about all those things I need to do [insert sound of smoothie-slurp].
Whenever I get into serious scuffles with my brain over a to-do list, I know it’s time to check my motivation. Is everything on the to-do list born of His calling? Why do I do what I do? And when I’m serving the Lord and loving on His people, am I really serving Him, or am I trying to impress others? Or am I doing it because it’s expected of me? Or so I won’t be thought of as unspiritual?
I’m convinced it’s not a bad thing to regularly do a good motive analysis. As a matter of fact, it’s very biblical. “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns” (Psalm 139:23, CSB).
The truth is, I never want to be careless or complacent or lazy when it comes to enthusiastically climbing out of the chair and serving. It’s not because I never get tired. It’s because I never fall out of love. When we’re working for Him out of love, even when it’s difficult, there’s great satisfaction. Whether I’m monitoring mayonnaise or washing feet, I want to do it with everything I’ve got out of love for my Savior. Not for a pat on the back or an “atta girl” even. But most especially for that moment of worship. Surrender. Obedience. Love.
Jesus is my example. The Creator of the universe dressed Himself as a servant, then washed a bunch of dirty disciple-feet. And then He said, “So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done for you” (John 13:14-15, CSB).
The motivation? I can ask for it. It comes from Him—from the inside. Not inside the house, inside me—by the power of His indwelling presence.
Sometimes I do have to be willing to take on some discomfort—get out of the chair and take a little heat, as it were—and allow serving Him to be an act of worship and a response of love. “Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not for people” (Colossians 3:23, CSB). We’re living out His Gospel from the heart as we follow Jesus all the way to the cross—sometimes via the wash bucket and towels.
That’s my goal. Serve sweeter. And—when I have to—suffer prettier.