Lacking Enough Motivation To Act

Ed, my old neighbor from Saskatchewan, was surprised we are planning a whistle-stop in Melville the last part of April. I told him he had enough notice to get himself motivated to welcome us since we will be just in town for a couple of days. My old neighbor suggested that he had enough warning to be away when we visit. We will see if he has at least a pinch of enthusiasm to say hello before he leaves town.

Motivation is often best when we feel forced to think and act in response to a circumstance before us. We change a flat tire or forget about driving the car. Most folks need a paycheck and are pressured to go to work each day. Hunger forces us up to the table to eat. Greed, lust, power, fame, control, pride, and recognition are powerful motivators that we see driving other people. We usually miss seeing them as motivating ourselves. Sickness, pain, and fear send us seeking relief or help. Family and friends inspire us to love and be loved.

Jesus told a parable about two sons who were challenged to obey their father. Their father owned a vineyard and went to his first son and said, “Son, go and work today in the vineyard.” His first son answered, “I will not.” Later he changed his mind and went. The father also went to his other son and told him to go and work today in the vineyard. The second son answered, “I will, sir,” but he did not go. Jesus asked the chief priests and elders which of the two sons did what his father wanted. “The first son,” they answered.

The chief priests and elders rejected the authority of Jesus to cleanse the temple. They

refused to believe that Jesus was the promised Messiah or Christ among them in the flesh. In the parable, there was no doubt who the father was, as neither son questioned that he was their father. The first son rebelled at going to work for his father but relented and did so. The second son seemed willing to serve his father but seemed to have no intention of working for him. The second son was like a fig tree that was nothing but leaves. It looked healthy, but its purpose was to produce fruit not just leaves.

Jesus needed to come to earth as all the religious activity of the Jewish religious leaders had no substance. It looked healthy, but there was no fruit of repentance and obedience to God. The parable of the two sons shows the lack of obedience to the father by one son. The second son seemed obedient and respectful, but it was just words without deeds.

How easy it is for us to lack respect and honor for our earthly fathers. “Do I have to?” may not be repented and turned into obedient action. Jesus didn’t want to suffer and die on the cross for all sinners, but he did so in obedience to God his Father. As Christians, we are challenged to give more than respectful, but empty words about Jesus. He is our Savior to be obeyed. He commands us, “Love each other as I have loved you.”

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