What is your motivation? There are all kinds of great pithy sayings about motivation and success. "Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try." "Great things never come from comfort zones." "When you want to succeed as much as you want to breathe, then you will be successful." "I want to see what happens when I don't give up." There are literally tons of them and probably they are helpful to those who want to succeed. But that's not really the idea behind my question about motivation. Motivation can be defined and discussed in that manner, but it's not what I am thinking today. I'm thinking more along the lines of worship. What motivates you to worship? What motivates you to pray? What motivates you to sing? What motivates you to teach someone about God and His Son, Jesus Christ? What is your motivation?
I was reading in the Psalms this week. Specifically, I was looking at Psalm 137. Let me put it here for you.
By the rivers of Babylon,
There we sat down, yea, we wept
When we remembered Zion.
We hung our harps
Upon the willows in the midst of it.
For there those who carried us away captive asked of us a song,
And those who plundered us requested mirth,
Saying, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!"
How shall we sing the Lord's song
In a foreign land?
If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
Let my right hand forget its skill!
If I do not remember you,
Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth—
If I do not exalt Jerusalem
Above my chief joy.
That's not the whole Psalm, there's another part at the end where the author calls down the wrath of God upon those who have destroyed God's people. It is a prayer asking for divine vengeance that God's glory may remain intact.
In the first part of the Psalm the author remembers being in Babylon and gathering along the riverside to worship God. There were some Jews who went into captivity who were faithful to God and maybe there were some who upon being taken captive, repented of their sin and became worshipers of God again. The point is there were worshipers gathering, remembering, weeping over past sins.
Along came some locals who decided to poke fun at the Hebrews. "Oh, your land, your city, your temple, your God are so great. Let us hear your songs about them now. Your land is deserted, your city is burned, your temple is torn down, your God is weak." They were trying to goad the worshiper to sing. But the author said he could not - "I cannot forget Jerusalem, I cannot forget Zion ... the presence of God, but I cannot be compelled to sing for your entertainment."
There is a lot to be gathered from this psalm, but I just wanted to make a small point about singing. Singing is not just a ritual we perform in church. Singing, worshipful singing, is meant to come from the heart. Don't allow the song books or the power point slides to become a hindrance to your heart-felt singing. We as a church and as Christians need to do better about spending time understanding our songs so that the words can come from our hearts and not just off the paper. When the song comes from the heart, it will be most excellently delivered even by the most non-musically inclined person. That's what God is looking for.