Just what is it that motivates people? One news commentator recently posited that greed, the selfish pursuit of wealth and power to meet personal needs, is useful in getting us out of bed each day.
Certainly the need to make mortgage payments, cover school tuition, or simply put food on the table can urge us to get going. But if that's all it's about, our lives could become enslaved to our needs – and the expectation of joy and happiness in our work could be left out of the equation.
However, the Bible suggests a more inspired impulse we can count on to awake us – and lead us – into joyous daily activity. John's first epistle provides some of the best motivation anyone could ever hope for: "God is love" (I John 4:8). Here is a synonym for God that helps us understand divinity's motive for all He creates. Love is a strong affection for or attachment to something. Such a loving motive produces only loving action and creation. And because we are children of the divine Creator – God's very image (see Gen. 1:27) – God moves us through loving, unselfish motives. In particular, the book of Isaiah offers that our Creator endows us with one of the highest spiritual motives: living to know, believe, and understand God as He is (see Isa. 43:10).
The wonderful news is that, while such a motive may start out as simply a pure and unselfish desire to understand God, it brings blessings the spiritual seeker may have never imagined. In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," the founder of this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote, "Love inspires, illumines, designates, and leads the way. Right motives give pinions to thought, and strength and freedom to speech and action" (p. 454).
I was blessed with just such hunger to know more about God a decade ago, a motive that led me in an unexpected career direction and eventually to a love of work I had never imagined.
I'd always enjoyed writing and had a flair for some writing styles such as memorandums, general correspondence, and marketing materials. Eight years earlier, I had left an administrative job in a publishing firm in order to freelance. But as time went on and my writing skills had not developed further, work turned out to be scarce and other job openings didn't pan out.
One evening, as I was reading an article in The Christian Science Journal – a sister publication to this newspaper – I found myself inspired as I learned about an aspect of God that I'd never considered ("The Continuity of Creativity," March 1998). The writer was explaining that since God is the "Creator" of the universe, and we are "God's image," then God's nature had to be expressed in us and we had to be "creative."
It was as if a light dawned in my consciousness. I realized that having the mind "which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 2:5), God's children naturally express the continuous unfolding of the divine Mind's creation in new and original ways. Creativity wasn't a quality that only a few special people had; it was a characteristic of all God's ideas.
Over the next few days I delighted in what I'd learned. I had no other motive in considering this aspect of God and His creation than to relish learning something wonderful.
Within a short time, after an unexpected social connection between a family member of mine and my previous employer, I got a call from that previous employer – the owner of the publishing firm where I'd worked eight years earlier. In trying to staff one of their open editorial positions, it suddenly occurred to him that I might be right for the job. There were some morale problems at the company, and the publishers remembered my sense of loyalty along with writing skills. So, even without my meeting their usual educational requirements or experience level for this position, they said they very much wanted to hire me.
I did that editorial job for two years and freelanced as an editor with them for a couple of years afterward. During those years of regular weekly deadlines, my writing skills greatly improved and I developed a writing niche that I love and that still provides freelance opportunities today. I can honestly say that when I have one of those assignments, getting out of bed is never difficult. I find that I can't wait to get to the computer, where I become beautifully lost in the work, and where time and other pressures disappear.
Loving what we do is everyone's inheritance. We can trust these encouraging words of Jesus: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt. 6:33). The joy of getting to know God and His kingdom brings blessings from our Creator, from Love, that we can't even imagine.