What’s in it for me?…

Emalynn has been such a little helper lately.  She has always had a giving spirit but we’re amazed that she will just start clearing the table after dinner or cheerful at helping with her brothers or asking to do things for us.  Often when we praise her actions she will say “I’m trying to earn my ears pierced!”  That has been quite a motivator!  I’m talking weeks and weeks of work and there’s still about 6 weeks to go!  Today was no different…she asked if she could go get the mail after we returned home and I was really surprised at what she brought back.

In recent weeks I had done a few things for a friend and in return she had dropped off a thank you note and a gift card to show her appreciation.  I in no way expected it and she knew she didn’t have to give me anything in return…but she said she wanted to and I was so pleasantly surprised.  What a kind and generous gesture!  It started me thinking about motivation.  I’ve always thought we should just do things for others because it’s the right thing to do and never, ever think about the rewards.  But it really is true that when we bless others, the Lord will bless us.  I just thought I was doing what was right…what I should do…loving someone the way I would want to be loved…but to my friend, it was more than that and her thoughtful response is evidence of it.

I remember one time in high school I was helping my parents who were youth sponsors get ready for a youth event.  I was making my famous homemade pizza and our youth pastor’s wife came into the church kitchen.  She saw me busily spreading out dough and said “Wow, Jen…you’re going to have a lot of crowns in heaven!”  I was dumbfounded!  I didn’t know what to say.  That isn’t why I was helping prepare the meal I just wanted everyone to have something good to eat for our event to which I was also going to partake.  A crown never entered into my mind…aren’t we just going to give them all to Jesus anyway? 

I’m not really sure how to feel about motivation.  While others can’t see my heart…God can.  Should I be more motivated to do for others by crowns and rewards in heaven?  After all the more I store up the more I get to give to Jesus.  But then again…if I’m simply listening to Him everyday and being obedient and not worry about it…won’t it all just fall into place?  But there has to be a reason God tells us about them.  Is it because we’re human and need motivation to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord? 

This afternoon I was thinking as we are entering Holy Week tomorrow…what was Jesus motivation for what He did for us on the cross?  What did He gain?  What was in it for Him?  Shouldn’t my attitude be what His was?  I don’t think His motivation was a reward…I think it was love.  Love for us and love for His Father in heaven.  The most perfect, humble, pure love there is.  Over the next week I want to ponder and pray over this.  If my attitude is to be that of Christ…what should my motivation be serving and loving others…just to do what is right because it’s the right thing to do because I’m a “follow the rules” good little girl legalist?…because it bring honor and glory to God?…because like my daughter I want to earn something?  Because it will show people the love of Jesus!

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:13 

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