Carbondale University of Illinois May 1970. I stood in the crowd of protesters chanting, “Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh, NLF is going to win.” I picked up a rock and threw it as hard as I could. The minute it flew from my hand I was jolted! “What am I doing?” I’d gone too far.
I was throwing a baseball-sized rock into a line of policemen, not even thinking who or what it could hit. I quickly backed out of the crowd of protesters and retreated to the trailer. I waited for my friends. I was silent on the trip home.
And when I got there I had some real soul searching to do. My next semester at school was awfully lonely. I’d abandoned my protester friends and began to look inward and to the Lord for answers.
At some point we all come to crossroads where we’re startled into asking, “Why am I doing this?”
Second Kings 7 tells us about four lepers who were in that predicament. The enemy was coming from without the city and there was a great famine within the city. They just sat there. Finally they woke up and “they said one to another, ‘Why sit we here until we die?’” They realized they were being foolish just sitting there and waiting to die. Instead they were motivated by a tiny spark of hope.
Crazy hope, but hope none the less. They decided that they’d make a move toward the enemy camp and just maybe there was a very slight chance something good would happen. As it turned out, their hope was rewarded. As the lepers went out, the enemy thought they heard a great army coming against them and they fled.
“And when these lepers came to the uttermost part of the camp, they went into one tent, and did eat and drink, and carried thence silver, and gold, and raiment” (2Kgs 7:7). There was so much food and wealth, the whole city was able to prosper from it.
The lepers’ action was motivated by hope and they were rewarded.
Life is relatively short. “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away” (1 Pet 1:24). If we’re wise we can handle the problem of motivations before a shocker comes, like my rock incident.
Here’s a lifesaving, life changing exercise we can do now:
For a day or two write down an inventory of all the activities you do and next to each write what motivates you to do that activity: “Why am I doing this?” Be honest. “I don’t know” is not a valid final answer.
If you really can’t come up with anything, it’s okay to ask someone close to you. People close to us sometimes know us better than we do.
Sometimes we may have to re-examine our motivation for certain actions and sometimes we may have a valid motivation but an inappropriate associated action.
Finding out what motivates us is a step in becoming who we want to be.
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