CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN
January 9, 2022
What Motivates You?
We are going to begin again with our look at the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus had been explaining in more detail what was truly in God’s heart on a variety of issues that were covered by the laws given to Moses nearly 2000 years earlier. One of Jesus’ missions was to help everyone understand better what God hoped for his people to do as well as understand why God the Father felt these things are so important.
Today we pick it up with why we do good things for one another. Jesus is explaining how God looks at the heart of each person to understand why we do the things we do. It is a good thing to do good as we have the opportunity. Sometimes that involves giving money, sometimes it involves giving of our time and talents. All these things are very helpful for those around us at different times during our lives. Doing a variety of things for others, even if it has some selfish reasons, can still benefit people who can use a helping hand. What Jesus is pointing out is if you are doing some of those things for a pat on the back, do not expect God to also give you that same treatment. As far as God is concerned that person has already got their pat on the back, their “Ataboy” or “Atagirl.” God wants his people to be motivated by what Jesus said later in Matthew. In Chapter 7, verse 12 Jesus said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” We should be motivated by a desire to help as we can because some day, we may also need some help. It is all about God’s people being there for one another, again with no strings attached. God desires to bless his people, but he simply cannot bless as freely when we are motivated by our own sometimes selfish reasons.
When you look at our world today, you can see a lot of things done and built as tributes to men and women both past and present. It is one thing if others, after someone’s passing, want to honor them by naming foundations or other things in their memory. In those cases, it was not that person who did it to toot their own horn. It was others who saw how selfless someone might have been and felt it a fitting tribute to keep their memory and selfless attitude alive. Others, however, do things that make sure everyone knows who is behind what they are doing. In those cases, Jesus is simply pointing out they already are getting their reward. I cannot help but think of one of the most visible examples in our world today: Bill Gates has donated literally billions of dollars to a variety of causes around the world through the Bill Gates Foundation. There is no question it has helped those causes do more than they could have without those donations. But to be perfectly honest, this is almost exactly like what Jesus told those who were there in the synagogue seeing a similar thing happen in the story found in Luke 21, verses 1-4. There we read, “As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasure. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. I tell you the truth. He said, “This poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” Jesus was not saying on that occasion the wealthy did anything wrong because they did not draw attention to what they were doing. What Jesus on this occasion was pointing out is that God sees everything that is going on and will reward accordingly. This example is not exactly like Bill Gates because the fact is the word does get out to everyone paying attention to what Bill Gates is doing. What this does point out is sometimes we do not think our gifts are big enough or important enough if they are not really major. Jesus is pointing out in the passage found in Luke that God sees what we are doing, no matter how big or small, and God recognizes the sacrifices we are willing to make for one another.
Going back to what we started with in Matthew, Chapter 6, Jesus just wants us to know God takes special notice when we do things without expecting headlines or special praise from men and women around us. If you want that pat on the back here on earth, that is okay, but that is not necessarily getting you any special reward from God when your time on earth is over. Doing good things can be helpful to people here on earth no matter what your motivation is, but God is looking for men and women who feel it is more important to do the right thing without expecting anything in return. God is not going to take a reward from you. However, if others may refuse to stay quiet about what you did, it really comes down to you and me.
So, to go back to the question asked in the sermon title, “What Motivates You?” I believe there should be one over all motivation for God’s people and that is found in one more verse I would like to close with this morning. In John 13:35 we read, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” That love for God and his people is what Jesus is talking about that should drive us to do good, not the praise of man!
Bible Study 9:30 Tuesday
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February 6—Steve Needham, former Decatur pastor, will be preaching.
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First Sundays: food donations for food banks
Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362
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Keep in Your Prayers
Larry & Luana Cripe; Tina Wilhelm; Devon Wright; Dan & Val Rokosch; Shirley Krall; Baby Gemma; Baby Tate; Maralyn & Galen Heckman; Bryce Ashenfelter; Andy Flenner and family; Mindy Sawyer; Marlene Schultz; Randy West; Jen Durst; Sarah Rudelick; Sydney (Nancy Gorrell’s niece); Carl and Wilma Cable; Marge Starr; Mike Gentry; Larry Albro; Mike McCleery; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Sonna Hall; Brittany Wright; Anna Gentry Thompson; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Doug Fansler; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo & Darlene Hanaver; Zola Copeland; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of the 800,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; the unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren
Military and Other Services and their families
Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers
Church of the Brethren vision statement:
Together, as the Church of the Brethren, we will passionately live and share the radical transformation and holistic peace of Jesus Christ through relationship-based neighborhood engagement. To move us forward, we will develop a culture of calling and equipping disciples who are innovative, adaptable, and fearless.
Our Mission Statement:
Love God, grow with others, serve faithfully, reach the lost, find peace.