An older couple had a son, who was still living with them. They were a little worried, as the son was still unable to decide about his future career ... so they decided to do a small test.
They took a ten-dollar bill, a bible, and a bottle of whiskey, and put them on the front hall table ... then they hid, pretending they were not at home.
The father's plan was: “If our son takes the money, he will be a businessman; if he takes the bible, he will be a priest; but if he takes the bottle of whiskey, I'm afraid our son will be a drunkard.”
So the parents hid in the nearby closet and waited nervously. Peeping through the keyhole they saw their son arrive ... the son saw the note they had left.
Then, he took the 10-dollar bill, looked at it against the light, and slid it in his pocket.
After that, he took the bible, flicked through it, and took it.
Finally he grabbed the bottle, opened it, and took an appreciative whiff to be assured of the quality ... then he left for his room, carrying all the three items.
The father slapped his forehead, and said: “Darn, it's even worse than I could ever have imagined. Our son is going to be a politician!”
We are in the mid-term election season. Candidates running for governors and Congress seats in different states are working hard to raise money for their campaigns. They travel from town to town to meet people asking for their supports. They spend millions of dollars on their campaign advertises. They are motivating people of their party’s base, and encouraging their supporters to show up on Election Day and vote for them. They are highly motivated and are using every imaginable tactic to get ahead of their opponents in order to win the election. This is the way to be successful in life. Whatever we want to do, it is necessary to be motivated enough to take actions in order to achieve our goal. Motivation is the driving force for success.
The Gospel story presents us a man called Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was a highly motivated man. He was motivated to work successfully for the Romans. He was not just a tax collector; he was a chief tax collector. That means he was a boss. Other people worked for him and under him. As a chief tax collector, he enjoyed his high social status. He was also a wealthy man; so he was financially secured. He had everything, family, friends, money, career, social status. He, however, somehow still felt it was not enough. There was something lacking in his life. So he was motivated to continue to search.
One day he heard about Jesus; he decided to seek him out. Again he was highly motivated to carry out his plan. Just look at his actions we could tell that he was highly motivated to do what he wanted to do. That was his character. He was a highly motivated person. He was good at it. Just look at him. He was a short man; and there were so many people surrounding Jesus. He could not get a sight of Jesus. So he decided to run ahead. He climbed up a tree, sit hanging on that tree waiting for Jesus to pass by. His desire to see Jesus was strong. He was so motivated to see Jesus that everything else became secondary to him. He was not concerned about how people would think of him. He was not afraid that people would laugh at him. His only desire was to meet Jesus. And he got what he wanted.
Let’s imagine that the pope is making his visit to Washington D. C... Most dignitaries got there on time, except the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. The crowd was too big for her to get through. She was not tall enough to look over the heads of the people. To get a sight of the pope she had to run ahead and climb up a tree. The Pope saw her and called her, “Nancy, come down! I want to visit you and having dinner with you this evening!”
I am not sure how Mrs. Speaker of the House would respond to the Pope’s offer, but Zacchaeus responded to Jesus’ offer with great joy. He quickly came down and welcomed Jesus to his house. Once he met Jesus in person, his life changed completly. He became more motivated to do something that he never had never done before. He decided to change his way of life. Nothing else was important to him except becoming clean. He made the decision to correct the wrongs he did to others in the past. He offered to give half of his wealth to the poor. He was ready to repay four times over to anyone he had extorted in any way. Zacchaeus’ motivation was a driving force behind his success.
What we can learn from Zacchaeus is to identify and locate the desires of our hearts. What is it that we really want for our life? Are we motivated enough to do what we want to do? Choose one thing that we really want to achieve and find the motivation to do it. We will be successful as well. It might be true to say that we want to do many good things, but we are not quite motivated enough to be successful at it.
Many of us want to love God and others, but we are not motivated enough to love completely. We want to be holy but not motivated enough to follow Jesus’ way of life completely.
We want to be prayerful but not motivated enough to pray constantly.
We want to serve but not motivated enough to serve completely.
We want to be kind and generous, but not motivated enough to be completely kind and generous.
We want to stop sinning, but we are not motivated enough to completely giving up sinful activities.
We want to be healthy but not motivated enough to live a completely healthy lifestyle.
Many people want to lose weights but not motivated enough to completely control their appetite.
Many people want to love their spouses and families, but not motivated enough to love them completely.
There was a young man who approached a hermit with this request:
“Show me how I can find God.”
“How great is this desire of yours?” asked the saintly man.
“More than anything in the world.” Came the reply.
The hermit took the young man to the shore of a lake and they waded into the water until it was up to their necks. Then the holy man put his hand on the other’s head and pushed him under water. The young man struggled desperately, but the hermit did not release him until he was about to drown.
When they returned to the shore, the saint asked, “Son, when you were under water, what did you want more than anything in the world?”
“Air,” he replied without hesitation.
“Well, then, when you want to find God as much as you just then wanted air, your eyes will be opened to the wonder of God.” (1)