Motives Of Our Work
(2) We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. (3) We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
I Thessalonians 1:2-3
What motivates you to do what you do? Why do we do what we do? Paul, when speaking to these brothers in the Thessalonian letter seemed to hit the nail on the head. It was their faith, love and endurance brought about by their relationship to the Christ.
These people honored Jesus as Lord. They knew and understood who He was and that He had the control of the world in His hands. As a result, it produced fruit in their lives.
Work for Jesus Christ in His Kingdom is not some task we must perform. It is a physical reaction of faith. “…faith without works is dead…,” one writer said. We spend countless hours telling people to do work for the Lord. We have classes and visits trying to get things done within individuals, never realizing, it seems, that it is the faith of that person or a group that promotes and prompts that which we do. We cannot make people do things. But, Faith inspires activity. It is that trusting, believing faith that motivates every individual who has become confident that Jesus Is Lord!
There is a little difference between work and labor. Paul said that our labor is prompted by love. Labor is that extra effort. People can work all day and never really labor. But labor is that element where you take off all restraints and give it everything you have. This is the idea of straining and putting every muscle in the body into something. It is like the intensity of a woman in “labor” with her whole body involved pushing a new baby into this world.
It takes love to give something your all. Look around your workplace. You will see those who work or at least work at it and then you will see those who labor. It is always true. Those who labor at their job are more respected and more productive as well. Why? It is because they love what they do! In our case, it is because we love Jesus who is Lord!
We can work and we can labor, but can we keep it up? Paul recognized in these believers that they would not only work and labor, but they would keep it going and not give up. He pointed out to them and to us that this was inspired by our hope. It was looking ahead.
When we face a task we often see the moment and not necessarily the end of the thing. In our work in the Kingdom, there is a future to it. Any good thing we do has a direct effect on bringing justice, the setting of things right, into a world perverted and misarranged by Satan Himself. We contribute with every good work a corrective measure of setting things right. And our hope of completing the task inspires us to do these things over and over again. The hope of the promises of God gives us strength to move on and do bigger and better things.
The faith, the love and the hope we have in the Lord Jesus Christ is a tremendous motivator. If our faith is in a system instead of a Lord, we will meander around doing little nothing things that will count for little. But if our faith, love and hope is in the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, it will produce fruit worth bearing.