TITUS CONNECTION Volume 16, Number 7 – July, 2022

Greetings. Am I willing to be forgotten for the sake of Jesus? This is a motivation question. Why are you and I involved in ministry? Honestly answering these questions gives great insight into one’s soul. Mike

Motivation For Serving and Being Kind

If I did something kind or nice to someone and never would get recognized for it, would I still do it? Why do I serve and complete Jesus like actions to others? Is it to be looked upon as a caring, loving person? Yes, we want to have those qualities in our lives. But the point is, do you and I treat people the way we know we should so that people think of you and I as good people? Or is the focus so that people think Jesus when they reflect on the caring, loving action bestowed upon them?

In Casting Crown’s song, “Only Jesus”, the lyrics challenge my motivation for doing the right, caring, loving thing. “I got lost in the light when it was up to me, To make a name the world remembers, But Jesus is the only name to remember, And I, I don’t want to leave a legacy, I don’t care if they remember me, Only Jesus!”

We all want to leave a positive legacy with others. We do not want to be thought of as a bad person. When people think of you, what comes to mind for them? A good test is to do something nice and kind to someone. If you can do this act of kindness without needing or attempting to be recognized for that act, then you are headed in the right direction with encouraging people to remember “Only Jesus”.

If I need to be recognized for my kind act, then I need to check my motivation for why I am doing this action. Jesus made it clear in John 13:34-35 with the command He gave us to, “To love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

That is leaving a positive legacy especially when we follow up our actions with communicating that our motivation for loving others is because we are believers in Jesus. Another test is will I love, do kind acts to only people who I like or know that when I do something nice to that person, that person will in time do something nice to me? Can I love and do kind acts to someone that hates or wants to do harm to me?

If I say I have faith in Jesus and do not show my faith by how I live, my faith is dead. There is no realness to what I say (James 2:14-19). Demons believe in God but their actions are completely contrary to how we are to live out faith in Jesus. When I am willing to do a loving act of kindness to anyone without any recognition, then my motivation is completely God focused.

God/Jesus is honored and glorified when people focus on Him, not me. That is tough because we want people to see us in a positive light. It is a difficult thought to wrap out minds around to think that when we die, we want people to keep their thoughts focused on Jesus because many of us want to be remembered.

With our minds created the way they are by Jesus, we are programmed to remember and remember people who have been a part of our lives. Perhaps the way to keep pointing people to Jesus is when we are thought of, whether living or dead, their thoughts of us lead them to think immediately of us representing Jesus well. Our actions, loving others, our speech were always pointing people to Jesus.

When our actions positively and directly affirm what we say about Jesus, we are living lives of spiritual integrity. That truth is clear in Scripture. By attempting the two tests offered here, will reveal our motivation. Eventually motivation is revealed by how we live and communicate. If our lives are lives of integrity, people will see Jesus in us, and we will be encouraging others to focus and pursue Jesus.

Youth Ministry – Antidote for Bitterness

Stop. Do not read any further. Right now write down five (5) things that God has done for you in you life. Again, do not go any further until you write them down.

What list did you come up with and how long did it take? Did the list happen to include your salvation, current relationship with Jesus, family, health, tough trials, certain life lessons, job, church family…and the list goes on.

Actually, a very good activity to do is in a notebook, write down all the ways you have seen God work in your life. It can be positive or not so positive experiences. Think through your life. Then start a new list on a new page of how God is working in your life right now. What does He have you going through, what people are impacting you these days, what opportunities are you involved in now?

Putting together these lists helps us refocus or regain perspective in our lives. You may be going through a very difficult time right now and truly asking where God is for you. Having these lists (and occasionally updating them), helps you get through times when you do not sense God’s presence, and then we have a tendency to grumble.

Someone else has it better than me. Why does so and so gets positive breaks in life when it seem all I get are negative, crummy situations? If I was only born in another country or even born into a different family, life would be wonderful.

Life is not fair. Some people get more good breaks or opportunities than others. Some of us are more susceptible to certain diseases than other and also unfairly, some experience more tragedy and trauma than others. No one has the perfect answer to why these things happen. We live in a world where people have free will as designed by God. People will not always do the right, proper, loving thing to others or themselves because we are not robots but created in His image which means we have a mind to think and reason, and that includes free will to make good and evil decisions.

But don’t get to the point of grumbling and complaining because that can quickly destroy your spirit and attitude, and then it only gets worse from there (Philippians 2:14-18). As a result, a seed of bitterness can develop (“See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Hebrews 12:15).

Bitterness easily drives people away from you. It is as if you give off a bad stench or body odor, and people do whatever to avoid you because your attitude is terrible. You do not like yourself, others or God. Your reputation becomes such that all you are known for is what is not good, how bad life is and it is everyone else’s fault.

Again, abuse of any kind is wrong and people who abuse others deserve swift punishment. It is hard to trust God when you have been abused. He weeps when you weep. His pain for you is deeper than the pain you experience. Know that you are not trash and that He and others love you and do not want you to experience what you have or are.

God is in control. He is sovereign. The final chapter of your life is not written if you are alive right now. Work hard not to grumble and complain, to let bitterness take over your life. Look at the ways God has worked in your life. Trust Him no matter what happens because no where in the Bible are we guaranteed an easy, carefree life.

If you are struggling with bitterness or have been hurt, abused or rejected, talk to someone who you know is a maturing Christian and has a listening ear. Take out your lists mentioned earlier and know that even when you do not sense God’s presence or blessings, He is there by you.

Now if you are going through a tough stretch in your life or even if things are going well, let those lists encourage you and know Jesus loves you no matter what you are going through and how well you listen and obey His guidance found in the Bible. He is the one constant standard we have in life. Cling to Him.