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Monday, February 6, 2023

Matthew 9:36

"What's Your Motivation?"

Message summary: What motivates you? Do we see people through eyes of compassion? God has strategically placed us where we are and exposed us to opportunities where we can be His hands extended reaching out to the oppressed.

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"It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. (Philippians 1:15-18). “When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them” (Matthew 9:36).

BloodmobileWe have often mentioned that we are blood donors, having donated together since we were in college in the mid-seventies. This last Saturday the Bloodmobile was at JB Hostetter, our local hardware store, which will celebrate 100 years of business in 2027. Brooksyne made a donation (due to my surgery last month I was unable to donate this time). There's been a shortage of blood donors so we are happy to do our part in helping another human being in need.

Shady Maple BOGOWe receive a card about a week before the bloodmobile comes reminding us of the drive. The card also informs donors of several incentives to donate from local businesses including a small gift card ($5.00) from the hardware store, pizza offer, etc. But this last drive they had an incentive we both especially value, a buy one get one free meal offer from the Shady Maple, a Lancaster County buffet that claims to be the largest in the USA.*

Now we indeed primarily give to help others. After-all there's the effort to get to the drive, time it takes to go through the process and a slight pain and some weakness afterwards as your body recovers. But we have discussed together how these small incentives might heighten our motivation, for it certainly sweetens the deal!

This prompts a consideration of how we are motivated in our Christian service and ministry. Today's first Bible text indicates there may be wrong motivations in ministry. "Some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry". There are those who used Paul's imprisonment as an excuse to advance their own agenda. They were not preaching a gospel contrary to what Paul had preached like those mentioned in Galatians 1:8, but their motivation was out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they could stir up trouble for Paul while he was in chains.

But amazingly, Paul could state, "But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice."

What a big heart Paul had! For the record I believe motivation does matter but Paul was looking at the bigger picture. He rejoiced that Christ was being preached!

Using the blood donation illustration even if Brooksyne's only motivation was the BOGO from the Shady Maple it still would have resulted in healthy blood to help someone else in need.

What motivates us in regard to evangelism and ministry? There are two clearly Biblical motivations:

1) Obedience to the Great Commission to spread the gospel message and make disciples.
2) Genuine compassion for people, reflecting the example of Christ.

Let’s consider compassion as Christ demonstrates so powerfully in the second daily Scripture text. “When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them” (Matthew 9:36). The Greek word for compassion is “splagchnizomai” which means “to have the bowels yearn” i.e. (fig.) feel sympathy, to pity. (We get spleen from the first part of this word.)

This is how Christ saw the crowds with a deep sense of burden for their need. He didn’t just look upon them at a distance and feel sorry for them. Instead He felt their needs deep within His Spirit which moved Him to respond in compassion to their troubles. 

People desperately need to know that someone genuinely cares about them. Some receive personal attention from their loving family and home church, but scores of people are now disconnected from these God-ordained primary sources of love and care. Broken homes abound. Just consider those whom you work with. How many have been impacted by a broken home or a pervasive illness?

Do we see people through eyes of compassion? God has strategically placed us where we are
and exposed us to opportunities where we can be His hands extended reaching out to the oppressed. Do you see those in need as Christ sees them? Let us genuinely express compassion in whatever capacity God has enabled us to do so!  It will likely require sacrifice, but it is in sacrificial giving that we find the personal satisfaction that comes from the application of the Scripture, “It's better to give than to receive.”

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen and Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, it is through Your eyes of compassion that we see people who have genuine need.  Help us not to look from a distance or wait for others to respond, but we want Your guidance through Scripture and observing the good works of others to motivate us to do our part as we ask You to help us meet the need. Even as You have given to us the abundant life, help us to be abundant in giving of ourselves to others in their need. We pray for this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Lord Lay Some Soul Upon My Heart"  Video  Praise City Church  This was an old song we used to sing in Bible College although these words are slightly different. The message of this song has motivated us many times over the years to reach out to one in distress, to become the hands and feet of Jesus in assisting one in need while also sharing the love and salvation of Jesus.

"Compassion Hymn"  Video  (with introduction)

1. There is an everlasting kindness You lavished on us,
When the radiance of heaven came to rescue the lost.
You called the sheep without a shepherd to leave their distress,
For Your streams of forgiveness and the shade of Your rest.

What boundless love, what fathomless grace
You have shown us, O God of compassion.
Each day we live an off’ring of praise as we show to the world Your compassion.

2. And with compassion for the hurting You reached out Your hand,
As the lame ran to meet You and the dead breathed again.
You saw behind the eyes of sorrow and shared in our tears;
Heard the sigh of the weary, let the children draw near.

3. We stood beneath the cross of Calv’ry and gazed on Your face,
At the thorns of oppression and the wounds of disgrace;
For surely You have borne our suff’ring and carried our grief
As You pardoned the scoffer and showed grace to the thief.

4. How beautiful the feet that carry this gospel of peace
To the fields of injustice and the valleys of need–
To be a voice of hope and healing, to answer the cries
Of the hungry and helpless with the mercy of Christ.

"Let Me Touch Him"  Video  Blackwood Brothers  (Another old song from our Bible College years)

Oh To Be His Hand Extended
Reaching Out To The Oppressed
Let Me Touch Him, Let Me Touch Jesus
So That Other May Know And Be Blessed

Finally today:

A note from Brooksyne: Today we mentioned the Greek word for compassion is “splagchnizomai” which means “to have the bowels yearn” i.e. (fig.) feel sympathy, to pity. It's interesting how the word "bowels" has changed when it comes to using it to express emotion. It reminded me of Robert J. Morgan's introduction to "A Song In My Heart" 366 Devotions from Our Best-loved Hymns" which I am reading daily in this new year of 2023:

"Admittedly, not all hymns have retained their richness. Time and language change, and I can't imagine any church today singing the Isaac Watts hymn 'Blest Is the Man Whose Bowels Move.' Yes, that really is the name and first line of the hymn ('Blest is the man whose bowels move and melt with pity to the poor'), but the meaning of the word 'bowels' was much different in 1719." 

Weber couple photo 7/3/22
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