Scripture: Nehemiah 2:17-18
Then I said to them, "You see the bad situation we are in, that Jerusalem is desolate and its gates burned by fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem so that we will no longer be a reproach." I told them how the hand of my God had been favorable to me and also about the king's words which he had spoken to me. Then they said, "Let us arise and build." So they put their hands to the good work.
Insights: Yesterday we observed Nehemiah’s surrender to God’s will and looked at his speech to the city council. Today, let’s investigate the manner in which he motivated the people with his speech. There are two types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. The vast majority of the time we use extrinsic motivation. In other word, we tell our children if they do __________ (fill in the blank), then they will get __________ (fill in the blank). This kind of instruction is extrinsic motivation. We do the same thing in the church. If you come to this Bible study, we will feed you dinner. Yesterday I quoted Chuck Swindoll regarding these verses. Let me quote him again. He wrote, “Nehemiah did not promise any material incentives when he addressed the Jerusalem officials. He didn't offer prizes to the fastest-working families or a week at the Dead Sea for the group doing the most attractive work. He didn't stoop to that kind of motivation—but many churches do. We give children prizes for bringing their friends to church, memorizing Bible verses, or having a perfect attendance record. That might work with kids for a while, but something is wrong when it has to continue (emphasis mine).” Here is the problem churches so often run into with extrinsic motivation: whatever it took to get them to the church is what is needed to often times retain them in the church. Think about Jesus’ motivational message for church growth found in Luke 9:23, “Then he said to them all: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.’” Talk about some intrinsic motivation—come follow me and die! In fact Jesus’ church growth model almost always seemed to be in contradiction to our modern day programs. When His crowds got to large, He would tell them to eat His flesh and drink His blood (John 6:53). Beloved, we need to obey the Lord because we love Him, not for what we get out of it. Nehemiah’s motivating message was completely intrinsic in nature. And how did the people respond, “Let us arise and build.” Let’s build, Beloved!
- When you influence people, what kind of motivation do you typically use?
- What kind motivates you to surrender to obedience?
Prayer: Father, let Your love for me be the greatest of motivations in my life. I desire for You to be glorified because of my service to You. Amen.