“People Have Different Driving Forces”Categories: Christian Attitudes, Sunday Family Report Articles
Some people are best motivated by caution. Public service announcements work very well to scare some people away from smoking, texting & driving, or other things like that. Warnings that make us afraid of dangerous, hurtful, or sad consequences stick with us and drive us to live safely, cautiously, and deliberately. We don’t think so much about doing more, but we do think about not doing things badly.
Some people are best motivated by reward. The possibility of a pay raise or a promotion drives us to excel, progress, or push forward. When someone shows a better way to accomplish something, we immediately gravitate toward the new opportunity to be better than ever before. We don’t think so much about playing it safe or heeding warnings, but we do think about doing things better than we’ve done them in the past.
In both cases, we tend to look at those who are motivated differently and think their outlook is flawed. So a caution-motivated person wonders, “Why aren’t more people taking these warnings seriously?” And a reward-motivated person wonders, “Why are people so bent on NOT doing stuff when there’s so much to be done?”
The Scriptures present us with the unique method of using BOTH types of motivation. And so we are warned to “look carefully then how you walk” (Eph. 5:15), and we are also encouraged that “we are not of those who shrink back” (Heb. 10:39). We are sternly admonished to “note then... the severity of God” (Rom. 11:22), and on the other side of the coin, one disciple talked about his reward when he said, “I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:8).
The Lord’s wisdom is shown in his appeal to all different kinds of hearts. This is why our teaching must follow his word so closely—so that it is not just up to us to decide how everyone should think, it’s his guidance that matters. And that’s why the Bible should be so important to each of us individually. Whatever it is in God's word that motivates you, hang onto it!
- Dan Lankford, evangelist