Focal Passages: 2
The first time I ever walked
behind a self-propelled push mower, I had a very good reason for doing so …
or so I thought. My grandfather had promised me, his aspiring six-year-old
grandson, $3 if I would help him mow our neighbor’s yard. That was many years
ago and the toys of a six year old were much smaller then than now. I concluded
that $3 was just enough to make me a rich man. Visions of new baseballs,
Matchbox cars, and ice cream cones danced in my head as I mowed that day.
I was a good helper (at
least that day) and we finished the rather large yard in what I was sure was
record time. I had seen my grandfather collect his mowing money many times
He had quite the little side
business mowing grass in our sleepy little town and part of the gig was to just
sort of “hold out your hand” to be paid when you were done.
I anticipated him doing so
now, and waited eagerly for such, knowing part of the palm greasing would
trickle down. He never even went to the door.
This neighbor had been in
the hospital and we were mowing the yard on this occasion because it was the
right thing to do.
Our “motivation” was to help
our neighbor. Well, truthfully, half of our partnership was doing it for the
The other half, my half, was
in it for the three bucks.
A person’s motivation for
doing something can often be as important as their actual doing of it. Paul
makes the case that such is true of the followers of Christ. Paul argues that
our sole motivation ought to be a desire to follow Christ, a desire to show His
Self righteousness can never
creep in. Material gain should not be a part. Even public acclaim should never
be a reason to do the will of God. We ought to do things for people because of
Christ’s love for us and His gift to us, His life sacrificed on the Cross for
I got my $3 that day from my
grandfather’s wallet. And I quickly gave it back. I wanted to be as right in my
motivation as he was in his. I can’t remember, but I probably gave it back for
the wrong reason too. I suspect, in retrospect, that I did so to make grandpa
At least in our Christian
walk, doing it to make the Father proud is motivation enough!