Former football coach Lou Holtz is credited with having said, “Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.”

All of us have ability; we are all capable of doing. God has given all of us abilities which we can use in His service. Jesus told one parable where every servant was given talents and another parable where each was given a pound. Some used their gifts and some did not.

The one who buried his talent lacked motivation. He would not even try. Those who increased theirs were motivated to work. A good attitude caused one to increase his pound by five and another by ten.

The question we each need to ask ourselves is: Are we motivated to action, and how much are we accomplishing because of our attitude? Are we filled with the desire to do well?

There are a great many people who have ability but will not use it. It is sad when we won’t use our God-given abilities to serve Him. He gave us whatever we have to use in his service and we can take no personal glory in our ability. It is a sin to bury our talent in the ground.

How do we get motivated to use what we have? A great coach is capable of motivating his players to give their all in an effort to win. Sometimes the goal of the championship ring or the thrill of victory is enough to get talented people to give their all.

Some of the greatest coaches who ever lived have their inspiring words recorded in our Bibles. If we will but read them, we can be encouraged to go all out for the Lord.

Paul was one whose words of encouragement should motivate us. He urges us to follow his example in saying, “I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.” If we believe we can do all things, then let’s get busy trying to do all things.

One thing that must drive coaches mad is seeing talented athletes only go through the motions and not give it all they have. Do we think our Heavenly Father is any the less pleased with us when we do the same? He knows what we can do — for He made us! Do we have the audacity to sometimes say to our Creator, “I just can’t do it?” Of course we can do it. We have to try. The good news is He gives us the strength to do it if only we will try.

When Moses told God on Mount Horeb that he would be unable to speak effectively to Pharaoh, God helped Moses by giving him Aaron as a spokesman. But Moses grew into the job and soon was leading all the children of Israel, speaking to them the words God delivered to him on Mount Sinai, judging them and guiding them through the wilderness. God knew Moses’ abilities and gently helped him conquer his fears. God’s strength is perfected in weakness, so instead of focusing on our weakness, we must try our best to give it all we have, trusting in God to help us with our deficiencies.

In baseball, many a talented player has been kicked off the team for what is called “lack of hustle.” Our God wants to see us hustle as well, as we throw ourselves into doing His work. Solomon put it well when he said, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might.” Let us maximize our efforts to use our abilities in the Lord’s service so that we might be that good ground bringing forth fruit, some thirty-fold, some sixty, and some a hundred-fold, knowing that they which labor will reap the reward of everlasting life, by God’s grace.


Robert J. Lloyd

* Click verse text to see cross references.
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