There’s a picture that’s going viral. It’s a picture taken this morning of 3 soldiers performing their duty at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the midst of an oncoming hurricane. Here it is, just in case you haven’t seen it.
It’s moving, isn’t it? There’s a reason I’m captivated by this photo. I was there 2 weeks ago on a gorgeous Fall afternoon with my family. To see the precision, the dedication, and the honor displayed that day was impressive, not only to me, but also to my wife and 3 young children. These men were performing the same duty that day as they are now in the picture above, but things have changed. There’s no crowd watching in support. There’s no comfortable weather to make things a little easier and more pleasant. What makes these young men do what they do? Is it honor? Is it duty? Is it respect for something bigger than themselves? Maybe. It may be a little of all three. I can’t help but think though that there are a hundred moments like this in our own lives. Sometimes we show up, but other times we can shrink from the opportunity.
To me this is a perfect illustration of motivation. Motivation drives us to action. We all want to think that we’ll make the right choice and do the right thing in life, but when we don’t, our true heart and motivation is exposed. It’s easy to do good when the crowd is watching. As long as circumstances are perfect, you perform well. But when the crowds are gone and the storm comes in, what drives you in your obedience to God?
There’s only one motivation that will resolve this: loving Jesus. When our motivation is rooted in our love for the One who first loved us, then crowds don’t matter. Anyone can do well when people are watching. Again, the picture of these men is so powerful because there are no crowds cheering them on. The storm is brutal. This private act of devotion was captured when most are bearing down inside where it’s safe. This stirs my soul because that’s what I want. I want my love for Jesus to be so authentic that Sunday at 10 am and Monday at 6 am look no different.
I thank God that He is constantly changing my heart and motivation. In 2 Cor. 3:17-18, we have this promise:
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
I love that. The Spirit is working on you today to produce a newer, better degree of glory. The gospel not only promises you salvation, but also transformation. Your motivation may be missing today, or it’s in the wrong place. Don’t worry, God’s not done working in you. May we rediscover what it means to be motivated by our love for Jesus.