Have you ever considered what or who motivates you?
For example, what motivates you to eat right or to exercise? Perhaps an upcoming trip to the beach or knowing that you’ll be photographed at a future wedding spurs you into action.
What motivates you to work hard? Are you compelled by praise or financial reward?
What motivates you to spend time with family and friends? Do you enjoy the company of others or are you merely avoiding loneliness?
What motivates you to serve the Lord? Are you concerned about the spiritual well-being of those around you? Are you compelled to accomplish God’s designed purpose for your life?
If you question your own individual motives, you’ll most likely notice that potential purpose influences your personal motivation. In fact, when a potential purpose serves your goals or meets your individual needs, increased motivation is likely to occur.
But, what if you’re motivated to eat right and exercise with the purpose of fitting into a swimsuit or looking good in wedding photos? Then, what happens when you return home from the beach or the wedding?
If your motivation is to work hard for a particular goal, what happens when the goal is reached?
Because God is always most interested in the attitude of our hearts, He desires that our motives be in line with His. Motives that are focused on God and His work have eternal value, but motives that are based on temporal things will only satisfy in the short-term—having no lingering, eternal effects.
So, what are some indicators that you’re motivated by temporal rather than eternal things?
You might be temporally motivated:
- If the end goal is self-fulfilling or self-satisfying
- If the proposed purpose reflects temporal rather than eternal values
- If the end goal will honor self rather than Christ
It can be challenging for us to avoid investing in incorrect motives. Yet, as Solomon shows us throughout Ecclesiastes, investing in anything with the wrong motivation results in meaninglessness. King Solomon was a “been there/done that” kind of guy. He was the wisest man in all of history and was rich not only financially, but in relationships. However, he found it all meaningless.
In Ecclesiastes 1:2b-3 Solomon says: “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever.
In verse 14 he tells us: I have seen all things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
Solomon found everything in life to be meaningless. That is, until he adjusted his motivation.
At the end of Ecclesiastes, after Solomon had pursued every possible avenue in life, he concluded with this thought: Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. Solomon was motivated to search wide and far for the meaning of life. After completing his journey, he found that those things that were absent of God were meaningless and those things that focused on God were purposeful.
What will you do with Solomon’s wise words? Will you allow your pursuits to be motivated by temporal things or the eternal things of God?
Remember, your pursuits always begin with motivation!