Motivation

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“I’m sorry, but finding your daughter’s retainer wouldn’t be possible.” It’s a sentence that no parent wants to hear, but the hostess sounded so matter-of-fact in her tone that I almost believed her. 
 
A number of years ago my family was preparing to leave for a vacation back east. The night before our scheduled flight out, we ate at a nice restaurant. My eldest daughter removed her dental retainer and placed it on a napkin next to her plate. Eating certain foods was just easier for her without the retainer in place, and we thought nothing of it until we left the restaurant. “Dad, I left my retainer in the restaurant,” my daughter exclaimed. 
 
We had only left the restaurant 5 minutes before, so I placed a call to the hostess and told her about the mistake. She seemed less than enthused, and told me flatly that it would be impossible for them to find it. My daughter had lost another retainer prior to this and I was not prepared to pay hundreds of dollars to replace this one without trying to retrieve it. Besides, we were going on vacation the next morning, and my daughter needed the dental brace for the 2-week trip. 
 
I turned the rental car around and headed back towards the eatery. Taking a business card out of my wallet, I wrote the following words on the back: “6 p.m. – Lost retainer by a customer. $25 cash reward if found in the next 2 hours. Please call me and I’ll bring you the cash if you find it.” I handed the card to the hostess and explained to her that we really needed to find the dental apparatus because we were going on vacation. She promised to show the servers, and I left wondering whether my phone would ever ring.
 
10 minutes later my phone rang with an excited hostess on the other end of the line. She had found the retainer and was waiting for her cash reward. Once again, I turned around and headed back to the restaurant. The hostess told me that she had dug through a bag of garbage to retrieve the retainer and that it hadn’t been too difficult to locate. As I handed the cash reward to her and said “thank-you,” I thought about the entire transaction. We were told that finding the lost item would be “impossible,” and yet it was located just minutes after I had promised a reward. What made the difference? 
 
Motivation!
 
We can’t help it…as members of the human race, almost invariably the question “What's  in it for me?” travels through our minds when we’re asked to do something out of the ordinary for someone else. If we’re properly motivated, we consider it…if not, we often turn away from becoming involved.
 
"One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:35-40, NIV).

The kind of love described in these verses doesn’t naturally happen in our hearts. We’re born with a myopic, self-centeredness that transcends our attempts to think otherwise. Only a divine re-calibration of thought process can help us respond to the motivation of love.