Tuesday, February 26, 2008


What motivates a heart surgeon to become better at her work? What motivates a Major League pitcher to shave a whole point off his ERA? Why does a man give his co-worker a box of cookies? Why does a Christian support her neighbor?

It's hard to say. But we naturally know what types of motivation are honorable and which ones are a bit disgusting, quite frankly. A heart surgeon might have a natural curiosity for medical science or a calling to help those who are sick. Those would be honorable motivations for a surgeon to become the best. But other motivations might be money, pride, the admiration of her colleagues. Are those what motivate your doctor?

A professional pitcher might work extremely hard in the off-season to improve his pitching so that his team would have a better chance of winning. But unfortunately nothing motivates a ball player more than being in the final year before free-agency, when he can freely offer his services to the highest bidder. A great season can add millions to the payday check. The Indians have a pitcher in that boat in 2008... at least the Tribe will reap the benefits for one season.

Or how about that man who gave the cookies to the woman in the first cubical? We have no idea what motivated him to do that, but I sure can tell you what they're saying around the water cooler. Let's just say most people think he's expecting something from our young co-worker in return for the chocolate chips.

Romans 15:2 says "Each of us must please our neighbor for the good purpose of building up the neighbor." When a Christian reaches out to someone else in love, what is the motivation? Is she motivated by the good feeling she receives from doing a good dead? Is the motivation the hope that he will be liked? Maybe, its the idea: If I'm nice to him, he will be nice to me. Paul doesn't see it that way in Romans. Our motivation for loving our neighbor should not be self-centered. Don't love your neighbor so that you can be loved, or so you can feel good, or so they might return the favor some day. And for heavens sake don't EVER love your neighbor so you can go to heaven. That's the most selfish motivation out there.

Love your neighbor just to love them. Help those in need because they need help. Love is our motivation.

If faith is a journey... then loving others for the right reasons is the first exercise we do as we begin training for the journey. It's our core action as people who have said "yes" to Jesus' call to follow him.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Moon Turned Orange Last Night

The moon turned orange last night.

For the first time in my life I saw the moon turn orange.

I've heard of blue moons and moon's over Miami, but I've never heard of an orange moon.

The moon turned orange last night.

I live 20 miles from Chicago and usually don't see a whole lot of spectacular things in the sky because the city is too bright. The stars are dim here.

The most exciting things in the sky are Southwest Airlines' jets coming in low for a landing at Midway. But yesterday there was something else to look at in the sky.

The moon turned orange last night.

I wondered what it must have been like standing 200 years ago in the spot from which i observed this lunar miracle... before the glow of our mega-city... When the stars were bright and the full moon would illumine your world like a second sun.

How amazing an orange moon would have been. How frightening. Are the gods fighting? Was the moon on fire? Is the world coming to an end?

The moon turned orange last night.

Such an event was probably talked about for many days afterwards. Maybe even years. What great or terrible event happened to cause this? Centuries ago they might have talked about it for generations.

But no one is really talking about the orange moon today. Oh sure it came up at breakfast, somewhere between McCain's affair and the Sox in Spring Training. But otherwise its forgotten.

The moon turned orange last night.

We don't get moved by the spectacular as much as people did years ago. We can pop in the spectacular anytime with DVDs. We can search for the spectacular on YouTube.

But real spectacular things are happening every day. Far more amazing than any movie or video clip. God is on the loose! God is changing the lives of people right now. He touched your life today.

The moon turned orange last night.

Did you see it?