The Attitude of Gratitude Provides Motivation

The Attitude of Gratitude Provides Motivation

We are considering how to remain motivated to go on preaching and ministering.  Here’s the first post in this series.  In this post we will reflect on the truth that the attitude of gratitude provides motivation for preaching and ministry.

Paul’s Attitude of Gratitude

I Corinthians 15 is the greatest explanation of the importance of Jesus’ resurrection for believers.  You find in that chapter that this is “of first importance” for the Church.  After he explains the truth of the resurrection, and describes the appearances of Jesus, Paul says this about his own life and faith:

8 Last of all, as to someone untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace towards me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them—though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.

Did you catch that?  As Paul considers the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection, he is amazed that God showed grace to him, too.  The attitude of gratitude provides motivation to Paul for his work.

Amazing Grace How Sweet the Sound

Notice that it is the grace of God that amazes and motivates Paul.  The grace of God, Paul says, made him work harder than all the other apostles.  So, in order to understand this motivation, you have to understand the reality of grace.


The definition grace that I learned as a child was “God’s unmerited favor”.  God extends his love, and provides salvation to me, not because I deserve it.  I could never deserve it.  Rather, he simply chooses to give it to me, even though I am unworthy.  That’s grace.

Here’s a longer definition from the website

What is the biblical definition of grace? Grace is a favor from God that is not earned. We receive this favor through salvation from God and other blessings from him. God’s grace is not dependent on our acts, but solely on the fact that He desires to gift it to us. 2 Timothy 1:9 says that God has called us to live a life that is holy because of His grace.

The reality that the Sovereign God decided to treat Paul with grace rather than with justice amazed and motivated Paul greatly.

Reflecting on the Attitude of Gratitude

Let’s reflect on this for our own ministries.  Is it true that the attitude of gratitude provides motivation for your preaching and ministry?

One of the most impactful books in my own life is this one: 12 steps for the recovering pharisee (like me), by John Fisher.   Fisher gave me a definition for what it means to be a Pharisee.  A pharisee is someone who reaches a level of spirituality that he or she can maintain.  Then that person looks down on others who don’t or can’t.  That’s a Pharisee.

The first step for recovery is to realize that I love to judge people, to rank them below me.  Preachers are especially liable to do this.   We who preach have usually worked hard to become “righteous”.  People look up to us as models of the Christian faith and life.  We are maybe more in danger of becoming Pharisees than the every day Christian.

Is this you?  The only claim to being right before God, or “righteous”, is that Jesus died for my sins.  That is what Paul is saying in this passage.

How The Attitude of Gratitude Provides Motivation

The attitude of gratitude provides motivation for preachers, but you will only experience it if you regularly come before God with confession of sin, and with the cry, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”  To such people comes a motivation of joy to continue to serve God faithfully.