Mark 4:1-20; 2 Samuel 9-10; Daniel 5
Why do we do the things we do? What is the incentive? What makes people “tick?” Every person has different motivators and if we want people to help us, we need to find a way to help them get what they want. As a student, I was motivated by getting good grades to a degree, but more importantly, to me, was doing my best. As a teacher I continue to struggle with students who will accept less than their best if it means that they can do something else. One question I ask students who don’t seem to even care about passing and use their time to disrupt class is, “What do you want to get out of your behavior? How can we find a way to give you that if you do what’s right?”
The new king, Belshazzar, was having a major party. If the party was today we would probably talk about it being full of sex, drugs and rock and roll. Then, Belshazzar brought out the good china, so to speak. They started drinking from the gold goblets that his father, Nebuchadnezzar, had taken from the Temple in Jerusalem. Even in all of their arrogance, they might not have run into trouble, but then they started praising their false gods with the goblets of the one true God in their hands. In the midst of their drunken revelry the fingers of a human hand wrote on the wall. This was a sobering moment and the party grew quiet. When they couldn’t decipher the writing, they called on Daniel and offered great rewards. “Then Daniel answered the king, ‘You may keep your gifts for yourself and give your rewards to someone else. Nevertheless, I will read the writing for the king and tell him what it means.’” Then Daniel gave him a verbal beat down telling Belshazzar that he should have learned from his father’s mistakes and that since he didn’t, God was telling him that his time was up. Daniel wouldn’t let the proffered rewards of the king sway him from his dedication to God and to being God’s servant. While Belshazzar eventually gave Daniel what he promised, Daniel spoke God’s truth even knowing that the result could have been death or imprisonment.
What motivates me? Am I motivated by a desire to be faithful in following Jesus? Do I seek to appear faithful so that others will see me as being faithful while harboring thoughts of pride about my ability to follow Jesus? Do I seek to do God a favor by appearing to follow Him with an arrogant life style that shows that I think more of myself than of God? Do I just ignore God and do my own things, often like Belshazzar, having seen the consequences of such attitudes and behaviors? Oh Lord, today may I seek to be faithful in following You as Your servant. Let me think not about myself or my own strengths and abilities; instead let me focus on Your power to transform me so that I can serve You as you desire. Let all that I do today bring glory to Your powerful name.