The Unmotivated Missionary


Where does your motivation come from? That is something I’ve been asking myself lately. Aren’t I a missionary? I’m supposed to be one of the most spiritual and disciplined people on the planet, right? Hardly. In fact, lately I’ve found myself unmotivated. I’m a wimp when it comes to jungle living, and as I try to learn the Wantakian language, I want to throw in the towel on a daily basis.

When we first moved out here, I was gung-ho – waking up at 4:45 am every morning, learning language all day, and even sometimes at night. I knew the message we came to give these people was important, and I didn’t want to waste any time. The last few weeks though, it’s been hard for me to get out of bed before seven, and at night my headphones are going on to watch an episode of Chuck instead of learning language.

A Motivated Savior

I need help. I’ve tried to drum it up myself  – “Think about these people’s eternity,” or “Think of all the people standing behind you and supporting you.” While these are good motivations, I’m finding they’re simply not enough. As I sit on my front porch here in the jungle and lift my eyes to the 8,000 ft. plus mountain towering in front of me, I’m reminded of the psalmist’s words... “I lift my eyes unto the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of Heaven and Earth.”

I knew who to turn to, but I wasn’t sure what His answer would be. My prayer used to be, “Lord, I’m not motivated, help me to be motivated.” Then I came across a truth that has made a world of difference. In John chapter 4 we hear Jesus say, “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing His work.” Jesus’ motivation came from doing God’s will and finishing the work He was given to do. So much so that when asked if he had already eaten, He confidently said, “I’m so motivated to do the work God gave me, that I’m not even thinking about food.” Wow, that’s motivated.

If only I could get that motivation in me. Here’s the truth, it already is. When I trusted in Jesus, He came inside. His life is in me! Suddenly, my prayer began to change. No longer was it, “Lord, help me to be motivated!” Instead I prayed, “Jesus, you have always been and will always be motivated. I know you’re in me, and I trust you to be my motivation.” Do you see the difference?

This truth doesn’t just go for motivation either. Not patient? Jesus is. Not loving? Jesus is. Not humble? Jesus is. The list could go on. God isn’t expecting you to be something. He already knows you’re not. That’s why Jesus came – not just to take your place in death, but to take your place in this life as well. Quit trying to be better, Jesus is already the best. If you’ve trusted in Him, He is your life.

“I have be crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives within me. The life I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20