WARNING: The following information is hazardous to the human “comfort zone.” It MAY produce defensiveness, excuses, and/or feelings of inadequacy and guilt. Please read with discretion.Robert Hyland was born in the 1920's. For the past 20 or more years he has worked from 2:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. six days a week. That is a 90 hour work week. He declares that he is not “some kind of nut”, but is very committed to his job, loves it even, and works so hard that he seldom notices the time or even when the sun come up.
John Wesley, born in 1703, died in 1791, founded the Methodist church. He knew ten languages and wrote 400 books - no doubt with a quill pen. He also preached 40,000 sermons and rode 250,000 miles on horseback to do it, averaging 20 miles a day for 40 years. He was grieved in later years because he developed a tendency to sleep past 5:30 a.m.
The apostle Paul traveled throughout the known world for over 30 years, most of it on foot, some by sea. He worked hard, was in prison frequently, flogged severely, and exposed to death again and again. He says in 2 Corinthians 11, “Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked. I spent a night and a day in the open sea. I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger form my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food. I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches... I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well.”
Ever wonder what motivates people to work like that, under those conditions? Is it the rewards received for what they do? Does their work give them pleasure or comfort? Or the money that will buy it? Or is there a desire for power, or fame and popularity, or at least recognition?
Hyland loves what he does. He says the pleasure of it motivates him, yet by his own admission, it is a competitive business world, and those who do not know how to work, will not survive. Beyond that, it is anybody’s guess why he drives himself as he does.
Wesley no doubt had a love for his job too, yet that many miles in a saddle is not always comfortable. Writing one book is hard work - never mind 400. His motives seemed to be for other reasons than the usual rewards.
The apostle Paul made no claim to earthly fortune, or fame, or power. He somehow found time to build tents to finance his travels, was not too popular but in fact frequently persecuted including physical abuse, and he considered himself a weak man, powerless without Christ. The usual things that drive a person to hard work seemed completely absent in his life. So why did he do it?
He explains in Ch.5 “...we know what it is to fear the Lord, (so) we try to persuade men... if we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For -Christ’s love compels us-, because we are convinced that One died for all... that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.”
He simply did not have a personal motive. He knew that Christ died for his sins, and rose from the dead so that everyone who believed would have eternal life. Therefore, Paul became a servant of Christ, to tell others the same good news that he had been told. He did not care what it cost him. He was motivated by the love of God, love that is willing to make any sacrifice, give up any personal comfort. It is not for money, or self-glory, or power, but for the good of others, that they might live forever.
No further comment. It was as uncomfortable to write as it is to read.