I’m noticing a lot of ‘First World Problem’ kinds of videos and media lately. There’s the ‘First World Problems Anthem’ where Haitians are reading out people’s First World Problems and recently Ryan Niga also put one together. What I particularly noted was the way it motivates people to change.
What’s undeniable is that yes, there is a problem. There are many people in the world who don’t have much. There’s also us lot who have too much and we complain about it. In Christian ministry, yes, there is a problem. Often we find that we have too much to do and not enough people serving. It’s always the 20% doing 80% of the work.
The videos do have their place, we do need to reflect on our consumption and whingey attitudes, and it is right for us to be concerned about the poor and needy. At the same time, I feel uneasy in employing this method as a Christian, it is not the best form of motivation; to induce guilt. Furthermore, I don’t think the Bible does this. What motivates people to love and serve has always been the amazing grace of the gospel.
In our preaching and teaching its always really easy to motivate people with guilt. All too often I’ve gotten frustrated and said to myself….”if only they were just like this…then”, “true christians are meant to look like x”…
I recently read Luke 10 which was a great reminder in these times:
“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”
” Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, 2 because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” (Rom 8:1)
“We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God granted to the churches of Macedonia: 2 During a severe testing by affliction, their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed into the wealth of their generosity. 3 I testify that, on their own, according to their ability and beyond their ability, 4 they begged us insistently for the privilege of sharing in the ministry to the saints, 5 and not just as we had hoped. Instead, they gave themselves especially to the Lord, then to us by God’s will.”
Jesus knows how bad it is out there. The response He asks us is to pray since really its His work, and not ours; that we’re under the Spirit and not law of sin and death. What was it that motivated the Macedonians to give this way? an abundance of joy.
If we can somehow get people to have a joy, giving themselves especially to the Lord – they too like the Macedonians will ‘beg insistently for the privilege of sharing in the mnistry to the saints’. Wow imagine that!
How do we do this though? I believe its the consistent preaching of the gospel which can do this. The issue then is not that people aren’t doing enough but more with their relationship with God. Instead of asking for more, its an opportunity to reflect on how much of the gospel they truly understand. Once we can get people understand this, love and service will be natural.
Of course it would be easy for me to now say – why are we like this? We should pray more and preach the gospel more! that’s why we’re not producing disciples and servants! But that would just defeat the whole purpose of what I’ve been saying. How to avoid this…
“Deeper grace will produce better gratitude, which means less guilt.” (DeYoung) Ultimately its not up to produce deeper understandings of grace and thanks – but the Lord’s work so lets pray for His Spirit to work in all of us to understand his amazing grace more and more – and out of this thanksgiving and joy the Spirit will motivate us toward good deeds and the growth of His kingdom.
What motivates you as a Christian?
P.S. I’m starting a new series of posts next week so stay tuned! 🙂