The Lord’s Prayer is one of the best known quotes in the world. It is nestled between two sections which set out for us how we are to act and how not to act. We hear about giving to the poor. We hear about not giving to the poor to be seen by those in our social circles. We hear that God sees all that is done. We hear that we should not pray to be seen by others. Then we hear the Lord’s Prayer. Following the Lord’s prayer we hear that we need to forgive. We hear that we should not fast in a way to draw the attention and admiration of others. We hear not to neglect our appearance and draw attention to ourselves. We hear that we should store heavenly and not earthly treasure. We hear that our eyes are the lamp of the body. And we hear that when we worry about earthly treasure we serve another master and our darkness is great.
I want to reflect on Matthew 6 in terms of motivation. I have recently gone through Daniel H. Pink’s book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Pink discusses motivation in the economic and the educational spheres of influence. I see application of motivation 3.0 in all behavioral sciences and all portions of the hard sciences dependent on human behavior and psychology.
As one who struggles with depression and apathy I can say definitively that there are many times I would like to do something but the drive does not produce enough impetus to move me to action. I have experienced this lack of drive in every aspect of life, which once upon a time, held amusement for me. I list my own perceived responses to motivators in general:
- External reward does little to affect me past the initial grin.
- External dissatisfactions, even when I consider them valueless, greatly weigh upon my soul.
- Many positive external rewards, congratulations et cetera, not only pass quickly from my consciousness, but self criticism replaces any positives with a list of all the things which could have been performed in a better manner.
- Internal rewards are the rewards which motivate me most often, if I am motivated at all. My prayer in writing this set of thoughts is that I will be motivated to live in the God-prescribed, anxiety lessened life, a life which is focused on storing up treasures and not the treasures that rust, pass, and can be destroyed.
Daniel H. Pink uses the term Motivation 3.0 to present the system which understands reward/punishment, but considers them external and weaker than the intrinsic motivators. Pink focuses on the following internal motivators:
- autonomy – our desire to be self-directed
- mastery – our desire to improve
- purpose – our desire to better society
Drive is, in the end, the desire to meet a perceived or even subconscious need of the self. I believe that as we move into the future, other needs will push further motivators for inclusion.
This is not a study on the Lord’s Prayer. This is a reflection on the book ends on either side of the Lord’s Prayer. Motivation based on external reward can be received, stolen, or minimized. Activity based on self direction, self improvement or purpose are internally motivated. Spirituality is an internal experience. As a spiritual experience, our connection to God is our internal reward. This portion of scripture is directed at the followers of Jesus, past and present, and not in general. Though they are; however, beneficial to all humanity.
Drawing attention to one’s self, for some positive action performed, is not said to be without reward, rather it is said, “they have their reward in full.” The problem is that external rewards can be received, stolen, or just fall short of what we anticipated. If the basic external needs of life are positively met, a person is free to pursue those things which bring internal positive reinforcement.
In the last section of this chapter God addresses worry. The birds of the air and the lilies of the field do not worry or toil and “your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” Matthew lists the need God will provide for each day:
- your life
- your body
- what you will eat
- what you will drink
- what you will wear
While I have stated that I think all people can benefit from this concept. To the children of God, who see relationship with God as more important than the cares of life, food, drink, cloths, and body, it is said “your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
These are all daily concerns, each has to be addressed every day. So we are encouraged to trust for daily provision leave the morrows to God.
Lord, Let me breathe your Word. May every day start with my trusting You for my needs. May your provisions for my life’s needs lead me to explore the needs of my spirit, needs which You have also prepared a provision.
Giving to the Poor and Prayer – New American Standard Version Matthew 6:1-15
1“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. 2 “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 3 “But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. 5 “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 6 “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. 7 “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. 8 “So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.9 “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. 11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread. 12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’] 14 “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 “But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.
Fasting; The True Treasure; Wealth (Mammon) New American Standard Version Matthew 6:16-24
16 “Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 17 “But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face 18 so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. 19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. 23“But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
The Cure for Anxiety
25“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27“And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28“And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32“For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Lilly Art – BEAUTY FROM ASHES ARTWORK
Bird Quilt – Quilt With Us
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Intrinsic Reward v Extrinsic Reward – Nestling the Lord’s Pray – Matthew 6:1-24, mythoughts, David Reese, Thoughts of God, thoughtsofgod