What's Your Motive?
What's Your Motive?
I remember a time when my son, when he was younger, got into trouble. I don’t even recall what he did. What I do remember, is him asking me, “Did you punish me because I did something wrong or because I embarrassed you?” He was a very strong-willed child and always wanted to buck the system. But his question did make me think about my motive.
According to Dictionary.com, the definition of motive is “something that causes a person to act in a certain way or do a certain thing.” We experience motives every day. Our motive for going to work is to have a roof over our head and food on our table. Our motive for disciplining our children is to create respectful adults. Our motive for going to college/trade school is to learn a skill or trade that will allow us to earn income and leave our parents’ house. Motives can also be negative. Our motive for retaliating against someone who insulted us at the office may be spreading gossip about that person that isn’t true. Scripture is full of many stories with motive.
In Exodus 2, we read about the birth of Moses. Moses was born after Pharaoh had made a declaration for every Hebrew boy that was born to be thrown into the Nile River. When Moses was born, his mother hid him for 3 months so that he would not be thrown into the Nile. It came time that she could hide him no longer, so she wove a basket, put Moses in it and sent him floating down the Nile. Pharaoh’s daughter found him and sent for a Hebrew woman to nurse him. That Hebrew woman turned out to be Moses’ mother. When Moses grew older, he was given back to the Pharaoh’s daughter to raise. If we look at Moses’ mother, she had motive to save her son’s life. She risked her life to protect his.
In 1 Samuel 17, we read the story of David and Goliath. David was sent to the battlefield to deliver food to his brothers. While he was there, Goliath came out to make his daily taunt to the Israelite army. David asked about Goliath and then offered to go kill him. Saul tried to give him his armor and helmet, but David did not feel comfortable in them and removed them. Instead, he selected 5 smooth stones from the stream, and with his sling in hand, approached Goliath. Goliath belittled David. David proclaimed his faith in the Lord, took a stone, slung it into Goliath’s forehead and the giant fell facedown on the ground. David was motivated to kill the Philistine because of his taunts about the God of Israel. By claiming his strength in the Lord, he was able to do it.
Take some time and think about what motivates you? Are you being motivated in the right direction? Could a different life decision or direction motivate you more? As you think on these things, remember to claim the Lord as your strength just like David did. Prayer is a necessary tool for this journey.
Oh, and by the way, my son was released from his punishment as I realized my motive may not have been totally about his wrongdoing! :)
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