I love motivational products! One of my favorite pictures shows a lighthouse brightly shining in the midst of a fierce storm. The caption reads… “Possibilities: The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible.” Isn’t that great? But sometimes too much of a good thing is well… too much. After all, how many soaring eagles and lighthouses can one person own?
Several years ago, I received a calendar from Despair, Inc. On the cover was a picture of the infamous Leaning Tower of Pisa. The caption read: “Mediocrity – It takes a lot less time and most people won’t notice the difference until it’s too late.” Can you believe that? Another page on the calendar showed a snow skier in mid-flight heading for a big fall. Underneath were the words: “Ineptitude – If you can’t learn to do something well, learn to enjoy doing it poorly.”
E.L. Kersten, designed this publication titled: “Monthly Inspirations for Underachievers, Pessimists and the Chronically Unsuccessful.” In the introduction he writes: “For over a decade, motivational products have promoted ‘Success,’ ‘Quality’ and the importance of ‘Determination.’ As wonderful as these notions sound, the sad fact is that not everyone wins, cares or even tries. That’s why our Demotivators champion the often-overlooked merits of ‘Mediocrity,’ ‘Pessimism’ and even outright ‘Failure.'”
How about this one: A photo of a teenage baseball player sitting alone on the team bench. The shadows of the sinking sun highlight his lowered head and slumping body. Obviously, the game is over for him. The caption: “Losing – If at first you don’t succeed, failure may be your style.” Crash! Do you ever get tired of hearing, “No Pain – No Gain?” Here is Demotivators version: A boxer being hit so hard that his face is contorted in – “Agony – Not all pain is gain.” Ouch!
Let’s face some hard facts. The events of September 11, 2001 are a permanent reminder that life can be incredibly difficult and unfair at times. Hard work does not always lead to success. Some people are more gifted than others. Lightning strikes good people and bad. For every winner there are dozens of losers. The list goes on and on… Becoming more motivated is no guarantee of happiness. So the real question becomes, “If life is so unfair with no promises of success, where do we go for help?”
The author of Ecclesiastes wrote in despair that life is… meaningless. But he ultimately found meaning… How? By obeying and following God’s will. “People who do this rarely look with sorrow on the past, for God has given them reasons for joy.” (Ecclesiastes 5:20) Here are God’s promises:
It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones. (Psalm 127:2)
I look up to the mountains- does my help come from there? My help comes from the LORD, who made the heavens and the earth! He will not let you stumble and fall; the one who watches over you will not sleep… The LORD himself watches over you! … The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever. (Psalm 121)
So I tell you, don’t worry about everyday life – whether you have enough food, drink and clothes… Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Of course not. (Matthew 6:25,27)
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. (Philippians 4: 6-7)
Put these four scriptures together and what do you get?
- Hard work and motivation alone will never ultimately satisfy. Trust in God to give you rest.
- Look to the mountains… your help comes from a God who will watch over and protect you.
- Worries about everyday necessities interfere with your faith and add nothing to your life.
- Replace worry with prayer and you will begin to experience God’s peace to guard your heart.
Maybe in today’s environment, this is the motivation we really need. “People who do this rarely look with sorrow on the past, for God has given them reasons for joy.” I feel better already. Do you? Now if I could just find a way to put this on a poster. First, I need a lighthouse… (Larry, please spare me.)
Excerpted from Rev. Larry Davies, Breaking the Peanut Butter Habit, Following Gods Recipe for a Better Life
Check out Rev Davies and his work at http://www.sowingseedsoffaith.com
Sowing Seeds of Faith… is about offering seeds of encouragement and hope… for anybody. It’s about the daily struggles of living out our attempt to serve God. There is humor and sadness, celebration and grief, spiritual discipline and sinful mistakes.
In other words, Sowing Seeds of Faith… is about you and me and the God who loves us.