Motivation is getting people to do what they ought to be doing. Nobody has to motivate me to eat the second piece of pie. Nobody has to be motivated to do anything they want to do or find easy to do. Motivation, however, moves people toward what they ought to do.
Why are people reluctant to do what they should but don’t want to do? I’ve only lived 44 years so I can’t speak with certainty, but it sure seems like just in my lifetime people in America have turned more and more selfish. Decisions are based upon selfish desires rather than upon what ought to be. If a person can benefit from doing something that might hurt others or by not doing something that would benefit others, then that’s the choice many will make.
How many times have you found that what is good for the individual actually harms the group. We have to start looking at what is best for others. Listen to the words Paul wrote to the believers in Philippi. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4 NIV). Two important issues come out of these words. First, don’t be selfish. It is proper to think about what affect your actions may have on someone else. Second, you must still think about yourself but in balance with your concern for others.
So, in order for one to do what he ought to do, he must be motivated. Motivation can come from within; it’s just knowing what is right and doing it. Motivation can come from the beneficiary. The person in need acts to compel you to do what you ought to do. Motivation can also come from a third party. A pastor sees a need and wants to mobilize his church to meet the need. Leadership is the key to motivating like this. Hopefully, our spirits connect with the Spirit of God and we are internally motivated to do what we ought to do. Hopefully, we act mercifully toward those in need having been motivated by their plea. Hopefully, churches have leaders who, like Jesus, can move them to do what ought to be done.
Factors such as selfishness, greed, envy, or guilt are not valid. But such things as love, goodness, kindness, and mercy are valid. The Golden Rule especially applies here: “Do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12 NIV).