Motivation Matters

  • September 30, 2012
  • Blog

Just a few weeks ago, we had the blessing of attending the Empowered To Connect conference in Nashville.  I can honestly sum it all up in one word: ENLIGHTENING.  On so many different levels.  Whether you are pursuing adoption, foster care, parenting in general, teaching, counseling, orphan care ministry, and so on, the knowledge and wisdom poured out from the “experts” who led the conference was a lot to absorb, but an absolute priority (in my opinion) for anyone walking in the above shoes.

And this leads me to my post today.  One of the questions explored during the conference was “Why do motivations matter when we adopt, foster, and care for the fatherless?”  We can do the right thing for the wrong reason.  When we have the courage to examine those motives, we help ensure that we do the right thing for the right reason.  Motivations inform our expectations. (Michael and Amy Monroe, Tapestry)

In other words, if my motive for adopting is because I desire to “RESCUE” an orphan, then my expectation will likely be that this child will be GRATEFUL.  Or if my motive is to foster a child because everyone else in my church is fostering and I don’t want them to think I don’t care, my expectation may be that God will surely bless us.  Afterall, James 1:27 says that caring for the least of these is “pure” in His eyes, right? 

Right.  Absolutely right.   .

However, when the motive is not also pure, the expectation can be unhealthy and unrealistic.  And this will lead to disappointment and discouragement.  So what is a pure motive? 

The reason why we do what we do in caring for the widow, the poor, the orphan and vulnerable child must be a desire to LOVE UNCONDITIONALLY … to love like the Father loves us. 

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were {orphaned and alone and} dead in transgressions…For it is by GRACE you have been saved, through FAITH—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Eph. 2:4, 8-9) {added}

You see, our standing in Christ alone is why our motivation matters.  We have “grievously sinned against all God’s commandments … and even though I am still inclined toward all evil…God grants and credits to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ, as if I had never sinned nor been a sinner, as if I had been as perfectly obedient as Christ was obedient for me.” (Heidelberg Catechism)

He poured out His unconditional love on us when we were most unlovable.  In our ugly ingratitude and from our guilty hearts, He sees our beautiful songs of praise and our liberated souls dancing. 


Photo Credit: Courtney Wyrtzen










“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not LOVE, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not LOVE, I am nothingIf I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not LOVE, I gain nothing. LOVE is patient, LOVE is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. LOVE does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

LOVE never fails.” (1 Cor. 13)

And let me say one final thing. I truly believe that, for the most part, those who are called to adopt and/or foster DO have the “pure” motive of love when they set out on this amazing journey.  I have never quite seen the love of Jesus like I have seen through the sacrifices, pain, and joy that my adoptive and foster friends have endured.  They challenge me, break me, fill me, and make me love my Jesus more.  There is a very, very important (and faith-testing) step that my friends take on the journey to adoption and/or foster care: they COUNT THE COST.  And, step by step, they wait for the Shepherd to guide them.  Do they ever trip and fall?  Yes.  But in their steady gaze at God’s Word, Grace always picks them up and gives them the courage to take the next step.

Loving the least of these is enemy territory.  The deceiver will attempt to paint a picture of an ending that is “happily ever after”.  But, for most, the journey of caring for precious children from hard places is just.plain.hard, at least for a while.  They wrestle with God on a daily basis, pleading with Him for mercy and grace just to finish, period. 

The ending of our stories shouldn’t be happily ever after, rather faithfully ever after. (Russell Moore)

If you are reading this post and you are on the journey of adoption or foster care, stay the course my friend and remember: “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.” 

{Unconditional} LOVE is not a feeling.  It is not an emotion.  It is Jesus…and He is enough.

Oh Father, increase our faith and teach us to continually search our hearts for the one thing that MATTERS most:

LOVE.  Start to finish.

Because of Him,