A young, somewhat cocky, cowboy was riding his horse one day when he spied a hunched-over old farm hand on a mule. Deciding to have a little fun, the young cowboy drew his six-shooter and told the old man to get down off his mule. He then asked the old man, "Have you ever danced?" The young cowboy then began to empty his revolver at the feet of the old farm hand with great laughter.

The old man slowly turned back to his mule (un-amused) and put his hand into his pack and drew out a shotgun, aimed it at the now bullet-less young cowboy, then said, "Did you ever kiss a mule?"

To which the young cowboy said with fright, "No, but I have always wanted to!"

There is nothing like a bullet for motivation. What is it, though, that provides you with the motivation to serve God day after day?

Perhaps you are motivated by the fear of punishment if you don't do what is right. It can be a valid motive — that's why Jesus told us about hell and eternal punishment. Or, perhaps you are motivated by the hope of reward. Again, it's a valid motive — that's why Jesus told us about heaven and eternal reward. However, I would suggest to you that there is an even higher motive: that we serve God out of a deep love and appreciation for all that He has done for us.

That's what I hope for my children.
As a parent, that's what I hope for my children. At times, they may obey me to avoid punishment or to gain some reward I've promised them. In time, however, I hope that they will come to listen to me simply because they love and respect me.

The old apostle John reminded Christians at the close of the first centurty that "We love Him because He [God] first loved us." (1 John 4:19) May we give our lives wholly to God this day, this New Year, and always because of His great love for us!