I hear a lot about motivation at Weight Watchers meetings. Of course, the purpose of the meetings is to motivate and encourage us to stay with the program for the long haul. Right now I’m motivated by a new toy they call e-tools. I can go on-line to track what I eat, look up the points values of foods and even check out restaurants. My favorite is an app for my smart phone that lets me scan the barcode on food items to get their points value.
But the need for motivation isn’t limited to the way we eat. I dearly wish I could motivate my students to work harder. Last semester I had to fail three students who dropped the ball at the end. They didn’t show up to give their final speeches. I have some students who say I motivate them with my enthusiasm and understanding, but I haven’t figured out how to reach everyone. Another area where I see motivation at play is in the volunteer activities at church. I just chaired a committee of fantastic women who planned a mother/daughter banquet. They were so motivated to do it right, that they got things done with joy. I’ve never worked with a more dedicated group.
In truth, motivation makes the difference in how we do everything.
But this passage is about what motivates God. He didn’t act to bring His people home because they deserved it. On the contrary, they had brought shame to His name. His name is holy and His actions were motivated by His desire to protect it. He brought the Israelites back to their land because He knew that would show all the nations that He is the Lord.
Knowing this about God should change my motivations. God’s name is so holy that He protects it by doing good things for people who don’t deserve them. Israel’s actions shamed God’s name. So I can be like them and not worry about how I affect His reputation or I can be like God and do whatever it takes to reflect His holy name, even if it means treating others better than they deserve.
There are lots of things that motivate me, but none should take higher priority than protecting God’s holy name.