MOTIVATION Sermon Illustrations

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MOTIVATION


Sermon Illustrations

MOTIVATION

MOTIVATION, INDIRECT
In the heyday of the New York Yankees, manager Joe McCarthy once interviewed a coach being brought up to the majors from a Yankee farm team. "How much do you know about psychology?" McCarthy asked.
The coach said he had studied it in college.
"So you think you're good," said McCarthy.
The coach replied: "I don't know how good I am, but it's a subject I've studied."
"All right," McCarthy said, "I'll give you a test." McCarthy said that a few years before he'd had a problem and had gone to Frankie Crosetti, his shortstop.
"Frank," McCarthy said, "I'm not satisfied with the way Lou Gehrig is playing first base. He's too lackadaisical. I want you to help me. From now on, charge every ground ball. When you get it, fire it as quickly and as hard as you can to first base. Knock Gehrig off the bag if you can. I don't care if you throw wild or not, but throw it fast and make it tough for him."
Crosetti demurred and said: "Maybe Lou won't like the idea."
"Who cares what Gehrig likes!" McCarthy snapped. "Just do as I tell you."
McCarthy then said to the coach: "Now that's the story. What conclusions do you draw from it?"
The coach considered the matter for a minute, then answered: "I guess you were trying to wake up Gehrig."
"See?" McCarthy shrugged his shoulders in resignation. "You missed the point entirely. There wasn't a damned thing wrong with Gehrig. Crosetti was the one who was sleeping. I wanted to wake up Crosetti." 

Bits & Pieces, April 30, 1992.


One enterprising home builder has found a way to motivate his employees. For exceptional work he names streets after them in his housing developments.

Bits & Pieces, July 21, 1994, p. 19.


Marguerite Bro tells of a minister who took his little child to a circus. She writes,

"The clowns were particularly good and the last one of them was a little fellow wearing a very wonderful high hat. While he was bowing elaborately to a dignified woman, his hat fell off and an elephant sat on it.

"The clown gestured wildly at the elephant, but the beast sat still. He waved and shouted again and again, but the elephant never budged. Angrily the clown stepped behind the elephant and kicked with all his strength, and hopped away with a sore foot in his hands.

"Then, frantic with anger, the little clown turned back to the elephant and tried to lift him off the hat. Defeated and in complete despair, the clown sat down and started to eat peanuts. The elephant was interested in peanuts and got up, ambled over, and begged for one!"

That was a powerful illustration for that minister. He realized that he'd just witnessed a spiritual object lesson: You can't accomplish anything for God by crabbing and kicking at the world (or your spouse, child, neighbor or co-worker!).

Morning Glory, January 12, 1994.


"I have never found," said Harvey C. Firestone, founder of the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company, "that pay and pay alone would either bring together or hold good people. I think it was the game itself."

Bits & Pieces, April 28, 1994, p. 24.


Pastor Glen Davidson, of Dalkena Community Church, felt God's call to the ministry while working as a successful businessman. He began taking Bible courses at night, and eventually obtained his Bible school degree. Prior to graduation, he informed his boss that he'd be leaving shortly to work as a pastor in a rural church. Neither the owner of the company or the boss believed it, and they neglected to obtain a replacement for Glen. Eventually Glen told the boss that he really was leaving and they needed to locate a replacement as soon as possible. The owner of the company still doubting Glen's sincerity, instructed Glen's boss, "Offer him a $500.00 raise, and if he takes it, fire him on the spot!" 

Source Unknown.


Marguerite Bro tells of a minister who took his little child to a circus. She writes,

"The clowns were particularly good and the last one of them was a little fellow wearing a very wonderful high hat. While he was bowing elaborately to a dignified woman, his hat fell off and an elephant sat on it.

"The clown gestured wildly at the elephant, but the beast sat still. He waved and shouted again and again, but the elephant never budged. Angrily the clown stepped behind the elephant and kicked with all his strength, and hopped away with a sore foot in his hands.

"Then, frantic with anger, the little clown turned back to the elephant and tried to lift him off the hat. Defeated and in complete despair, the clown sat down and started to eat peanuts. The elephants was interested in peanuts got up, ambled over, and begged for one!"

That was a powerful illustration for that minister. He realized that he'd just witness a spiritual object lesson: You can't accomplish anything for God by crabbing and kicking at the world (or your spouse, child, neighbor or co-worker!).

Source Unknown.


Notre Dame football star George Gipp could do it all -- run, pass, and punt with unparalleled skill. The 1920 season established the Gipp as a football immortal. But on December 14, 1920, young George Gipp died of pneumonia. But thanks to football legend -- and a movie in which former president Ronald Reagan portrayed Gipp -- the story of George Gipp lived on. On November 10, 1928, Notre Dame and Army were tied at halftime. Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne, himself a legend, told of being at the dying Gipp's bedside. Rockne recalled how Gipp feebly said, "Sometime, Rock, when the team is up against it, when things are going wrong and the breaks are beating the boys -- tell them to go in there with all they've got and win just one for the Gipper." They did.

Today in the Word, October 22, 1993.


Knute Rockne called George Gipp the greatest football player Notre Dame ever produced. At the height of his college career, however, Gipp was struck with a serious infection that took his life. On his deathbed he told his coach, "Rock, someday when things look real tough for Notre Dame, ask the boys to go out there and win one for the Gipper."

Eight years later, Knute recounted the deathbed story for a lackluster team about to face the powerful Army football team of 1928. The Fighting Irish played beyond themselves that day. In the second half, Notre Dame halfback Jack Chevigny took the ball near the goal line and, having nowhere to go, catapulted over the Army line into the end zone. Jack then leaped to his feet shouting, "That one was for the Gipper!" Notre Dame went on to beat Army 12-6. 

Daily Walk, July 8, 1993.


"I'm so depressed and I can't get any dates," the 300-pound man told his minister. "I've tried everything to lose weight."

"I think I can help," said the minister. "Be dressed and ready to go tomorrow at 8 a.m."

Next morning, a beautiful woman in a skintight exercise suit knocked on the man's door. "If you can catch me, you can have me," she said, as she took off. He huffed and puffed after her.

This routine went on every day for the next five months. The man lost 115 pounds and felt confident that he would catch the woman the next day. That morning he whipped open his front door and found a 300-pound woman in a jogging suit waiting for him. "The minister said to tell you," she began, "that if I can catch you, I can have you." 

Contributed by Allan C. Boyer in Reader's Digest.


In a recent Michigan State University study, 97% of the faculty members and staff who bet $40 that they could stay with a six-month exercise program were successful. Only 19% of a non-betting group stayed with their six-month program, however.

TIP: Consider incentives when you want to change behavior.

MSC Health Action News, April, 1993.


He may dress like a skid-row bum and smell like a dead rat, but Andy Smulian is a hit among London businessmen plagued by those who won't pay their bills. Employed by the London-Manhattan Debt Collection Agency, the 20-years-old youth will stumble into a deadbeat's office for $65 and raise a stink until the freeloader pays up.

"The receptionists do most of my work for me," says smelly Smulian. "I hear them tell their bosses, 'If you're not going to write a check, you'd better find yourself another secretary.'"

Though the enterprising young man has generally been successful with his debt-collecting efforts, he has recently been taken to court because of his villainous stench. But he insists he is not to be sneezed at and is sure the London magistrate will rule in his favor. "The law doesn't define when a smell becomes offensive," he says with confidence. But who is he to talk? Afflicted with permanently blocked sinuses, he can't smell a thing. 

Campus Life, February, 1980, p. 23.


The teenager lost a contact lens while playing basketball in his driveway. After a fruitless search, he told his mother the lens was nowhere to be found. Undaunted, she went outside and in a few minutes returned with the lens in her hand. "I really looked hard for that, Mom," said the youth. "How'd you manage to find it?" 

"We weren't looking for the same thing," she replied. "You were looking for a small piece of plastic. I was looking for $150." 

Source Unknown.


Ohio Motorist (AAA) Arthur Brisbane, the newspaper editor, was heard telling his best cartoonist, Windsor McKay, that he was the second greatest cartoonist in the world. A reporter standing nearby, his curiosity aroused, asked Brisbane who was first.

"I don't know," said Brisbane. "But it keeps McKay on his toes." 

Bits & Pieces, January 7, 1993, p. 19.


At the busy dental office where I work, one patient was always late. Once when I called to confirm an appointment, he said, "I'll be about 15 minutes late. That won't be a problem, will it?"

"No," I told him. "We just won't have time to give you an anesthetic."

He arrived early.

Terri Spaccarotelli, Reader's Digest, June, 1992, p. 145.


Bob Kuechenberg, the former Miami Dolphins great, once explained what motivated him to go to college.

My father and uncle were human cannonballs in carnivals. My father told me, "go to college or be a cannonball." Then one day my uncle came out of the cannon, missed the net and hit the ferris wheel, I decided to go to college. 

Newsweek.


When you see the early bird out there on the lawn, head cocked to one side as he catches the worm, don't think he's listening for it. He's looking for it. With eyes at the sides instead of facing ahead as do ours, he is able to see in the worm's hole by cocking his head. Besides, worms make very little noise, something like smacking your lips together.

The average robin requires about seventy worms a day, so he has to get up early. 

The Joy of Trivia.


On February 11, 1962, Parade Magazine published the following brief account -- itself a commentary on artificial motivation.

Still Munching Candy

At the village church in Kalonovka, Russia, attendance at Sunday school picked up after the priest started handing out candy to the peasant children. One of the most faithful was a pug-nosed, pugnacious lad who recited his Scriptures with proper piety, pocketed his reward, then fled into the fields to munch on it.

The priest took a liking to the boy, persuaded him to attend church school. This was preferable to doing household chores from which his devout parents excused him. By offering other inducements, the priest managed to teach the boy the four Gospels. In fact, he won a special prize for learning all four by heart and reciting them nonstop in church. Now, 60 years later, he still likes to recite Scriptures, but in a context that would horrify the old priest. For the prize pupil, who memorized so much of the Bible, is Nikita Khrushchev, the former Communist czar.

As this anecdote illustrates, the "why" behind memorization is fully as important as the "what". The same Nikita Khrushchev who nimbly mouthed God's Word when a child, later declared God to be nonexistent -- because his cosmonauts had not seen Him. Khrushchev memorized the Scriptures for the candy, the rewards, the bribes, rather than for the meaning it had for his life. Artificial motivation will produce artificial results.

Source Unknown.


Something took place in the fall of 1944 that can explain a major reason many children are facing a losing battle in today's families. It was late October when an officer commanding a platoon of American soldiers received a call from headquarters. Over the radio, this captain learned his unit was being ordered to recapture a small French city from the Nazis -- and he learned something else from headquarters as well. For weeks, French resistance fighters had risked their lives to gather information about the German fortifications in that city, and they had smuggled this information out to the Allies. 

The French Underground's efforts had provided the Americans with something worth its weight in gold: a detailed map of the city. It wasn't just a map with the names of major streets and landmarks; it showed specific details of the enemy's defensive positions. Indeed, the map even identified shops and buildings where German soldiers bunked or where a machine-gun nest or a sniper had been stationed. Block by block, the Frenchmen gave an accounting of the German units and the gun emplacements they manned. For a captain who was already concerned about mounting casualty lists, receiving such information was an answer to prayer. Although the outcome of the war wouldn't depend on this one skirmish, to him it meant that he wouldn't have to write as many letters to his men's parents or wives telling them their loved one had been cut down in battle. 

Before the soldiers moved out to take their objective, the Captain gave each man a chance to study the map. And wanting to make sure his men read it carefully, he hurriedly gave them a test covering the major landmarks and enemy strongholds. Just before his platoon moved out, the officer graded the test, and with minor exceptions every man earned a perfect score. As a direct result of having that map to follow, the men captured the city with little loss of American lives. 

Nearly thirty years after this military operation took place, an army researcher heard the story and decided to base a study on it. The project began in France, where instead of a platoon of soldiers, he arranged for a group of American tourists to help him with his research. For several hours, the men and women were allowed to study the same map the soldiers had, and then they were given the same test. You can guess the results. Most of the tourists failed miserably. The reason for the difference between these two groups was obvious -- motivation. Knowing their lives were on the line, the soldiers were highly motivated to learn every detail of the map. For the tourists, being in a research study provided some motivation. But most of them had nothing to lose but a little ride if they failed the test. 

Gary Smalley & John Trent, Ph.D., The Gift of Honor, pp. 1-2.


A little boy told a salesclerk he was shopping for a birthday gift for his mother and asked to see some cookie jars. At a counter displaying a large selection of them, the youngster carefully lifted and replaced each lid. His face fell as he came to the last one. "Aren't there any covers that don't make any noise?" he asked.

Source Unknown.


Bank robber Willie Sutton, when asked why he robbed banks, replied, "Because that's where the money is."

Source Unknown.


I once called upon an elderly lawyer, who greeted me warmly and invited me to be seated. As I was about to take the chair in front of his desk, he motioned me into a different one. Before, I left, however, he invited me to try the first chair. I did so, and after a short time noticed an uncomfortable desire to rise. "That chair I reserve for law-book sellers, bill collectors and pesky clients," my host explained. "The front legs are sawed off two inches shorter than the back ones." 

Robert J. Demer, Reader's Digest.


A woman hired two men to do some yard work. The day they came, she was giving a bridge party. During the afternoon, a guest looked out the window to see one man raking and the other performing majestic leaps and spirals in the air. "Hey, look at that," she said to her friends.

"What a wonderful gymnast," remarked one. "I'd pay him a hundred dollars to perform for our aerobics class." The hostess opened the window and asked the fellow raking if he thought his friend would like the job.

"Hey, Fred," the co-worker yelled to his partner, "do you think for a hundred dollars you could step on that rake one more time?" 

Arnie Kunz, quoted by Alex Thien in Milwaukee Sentinel.


The whole worth of a kind deed lies in the love that inspires it. 

The Talmud.


My chief want in life is someone who shall make me do what I can. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson.


The sister of Paul Petzoldt, a well-known mountain climber, gave this explanation of why people like to climb mountains:

"They want to get to the top and let the air rush through the holes in their heads."  

William Marley in Fortune quoted in Reader's Digest, March 1981, p. 144.


Illustrations motivate. Merely to announce what ought to be done without helping motivate people to do it is of little value. Enveloped in a cloud of dust, the county agricultural agent drove into the farmyard and bounced onto the old farmer's porch. The farm looked pretty much run-down, and the farmer sitting in the creaking rocker did too. The agent, enthusiasm personified, began sharing what he thought were exciting ideas for improving the farm, but the old man stopped him in mid-sentence. "Simmer down, sonny; I know how to farm twice as good as I'm farmin' already."

Most people are not living even half the truth they already know. They don't so much need to know more as they need to be motivated more. While the principal purpose of illustration is not to excite the emotions, illustrations do help listeners feel the truth. And people mostly do what they feel like doing.

Source Unknown.


There was once a jockey who had an unbelievable winning record. Just before the end of any race, the jockey would lean way over and seemingly speak to the horse. A reporter asked the jockey what he did that made such a difference in the horse's speed. He replied: "I simply quote a little verse in his ear: 'Roses are red, violets are blue; Horses that lose are made into glue!"

Source Unknown.


President Ulysses Grant loved horses, but suffered misfortune with a series of dogs. While in the White House, each died of unknown causes. When Jesse Grant, his son, voiced fears that his treasured Newfoundland was fated to go the same way, the president summoned the White House steward. "Father asked no questions, made no accusations," Jesse wrote, and Grant ended the matter with a simple political promise: "Jesse has a new dog. You may have noticed that his former pets have been particularly unfortunate. When this dog dies, every employee in the White House will be at once discharged."

The Newfoundland, named Faithful, enjoyed superb health throughout Grant's tenure in the White House, according to Margaret Truman, author of a 1979 book titled White House Pets.

Spokesman Review, April 12, 1986.


On a Western Airlines flight to San Francisco, fried chicken tycoon Col. Harland Sanders, 89, had made himself agreeable to staff and fellow passengers, then dropped his chin to his narrow black tie and closed his eyes. Somewhere in the back of the plane a child had been shrieking for some time. One stewardess told another helplessly, "I've tried candy, books and games, but nothing seems to make any difference."

"I've got to speak to that child," said the colonel. He rose to his feet and, with the aid of his cane, made his way back. The staff watched and shrugged, as if to say, "What can he do?"

When the colonel came back, not long afterward, his charm had produced a minor miracle. There was only the sound of chatter, newspapers and china. The stewardess came up to him and said, "Thank you for helping us, Colonel."

"I didn't do it for you," he replied. "I did it for the child." And he closed his eyes again and settled down.

Helen Dewar, Reader's Digest.


In his youth, Andrew Carnegie, the famous steel maker, worked for Thomas A. Scott, the local superintendent of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Carnegie was employed as a telegrapher, secretary, and general factotum at $35 a month.

One morning a serious railroad accident delayed the passenger trains and shunted freight trains onto the sidings, unable to move in either direction. Scott could not be located, so Carnegie plunged into the breach -- knowing what had to be done, but also aware that an error could cost him his job and perhaps criminal prosecution. He signed Scott's name to the orders and got the trains moving with no mishaps.

When Scott arrived at the office, Carnegie told him what had happened. Scott carefully looked over everything that the boy had done, and said nothing. "But I noticed," Carnegie said, "that he came in very regularly and in good time for some mornings after that." 

Bits & Pieces, April 30, 1992.


It is hard to believe now, but the potato was once a highly unpopular food. When first introduced into England by Sir Walter Raleigh, newspapers printed editorials against it, ministers preached sermons against it, and the general public wouldn't touch it. It was supposed to sterilize the soil in which it had been planted and cause all manner of strange illnesses--even death.

There were, however, a few brave men who did not believe all the propaganda being shouted against it. It was seen as an answer to famine among the poorer classes and as a healthful and beneficial food. Still, these few noblemen in England could not persuade their tenants to cultivate the potato. It was years before all the adverse publicity was overcome and the potato became popular.

A Frenchman named Parmentier took a different tack. He had been a prisoner of war in England when he first heard of the new plant. His fellow prisoners protested the outrage of having to eat potatoes. Parmentier, instead, thoughtfully inquired about the methods of cultivating and cooking the new food. Upon his return to France, he procured an experimental farm from the Emperor, in which he planted potatoes. When it was time to dig them, at his own expense, he hired a few soldiers to patrol all sides of his famous potato patch during the daytime. Meanwhile he conducted distinguished guests through the fields, digging a few tubers here and there, which they devoured with evident relish.

At night, he began to withdraw the guards. A few days later one of the guards hastened to Parmentier with the sad news that peasants had broken into the potato patch at night, and dug up most of the crop.

Parmentier was overjoyed, much to the surprise of his informant, and exclaimed, "When the people will steal in order to procure potatoes, their popularity is assured."

Bits & Pieces, January 9, 1992, pp. 13 - 15.


When the company founded by Andrew Carnegie was taken over by the U.S. Steel Corporation in 1901 it acquired as one of its obligations a contract to pay the top Carnegie executive, Charles M. Schwab, the then unheard of minimum sum of $1,000,000. J.P. Morgan of U.S. Steel was in a quandary about it. The highest salary on record was then $100,000. He met with Schwab, showed him the contract and hesitatingly asked what could be done about it. "This," said Schwab, as he took the contract and tore it up. That contract had paid Schwab $1,300,000 the year before. "I didn't care what salary they paid me," Schwab later told a Forbes magazine interviewer. "I was not animated by money motives. I believed in what I was trying to do and I wanted to see it brought about. I cancelled that contract without a moment's hesitation. Why do I work? I work for just the pleasure I find in work, the satisfaction there is in developing things, in creating. Also, the associations business begets. The person who does not work for the love of work, but only for money, is not likely to make money nor to find much fun in life." 

Bits & Pieces, May, 1991, p. 2.


Motivational speaker Bill Gove tells a story about Harry, who ran a small appliance store in Phoenix, Arizona. Harry was used to price-shopping by young couples. The would ask detailed questions about features, prices, and model numbers, and one of them always took notes. Harry knew that as soon as they left the store they were going to head for one of the discount appliance dealers to make comparisons. Nevertheless, Harry would patiently answer all their questions, even though it took more than a half hour at times. But when the couple would announce that they were going to look around at some other places, Harry had a standard spiel to deliver. "I know that you're looking for the best deal you can find," he would say. "I understand that, because I do the same thing myself. I know you'll probably go down to Discount Dan's to compare prices. I know I would. But after you've done that, I want you to think of one thing. When you buy from Discount Dan's, you get an appliance--a good one, I know, because he sells the same appliances we do. But when you buy here, you get one thing you don't get at Dan's. You get me. I come with the deal. I stand behind what I sell. I want you to be happy with what you buy. I've been here 30 years. I learned the business from my Dad, and I hope to be able to give the business over to my daughter and son-in-law in a few years. So you know one thing for sure--when you buy an appliance from me, you get me with the deal. That means I'll do everything I can to be sure you never regret doing business with me. That's a guarantee." Harry would then wish the couple well and give them a quart of ice cream in appreciation of their stopping at his store. 

This is how Bill Gove finishes the story: "Now," he says, "how far do you think that couple is going to get, with Harry's speech ringing in their ears and a quart of ice cream on their hands in Phoenix, when it's 110 degrees in the shade?" 

Bits & Pieces, November 1991.


A farm boy got a white football for Christmas. He played with it awhile and then kicked it over into the neighbor's yard. The old rooster ran out, looked at it, and called the hens to see it.

"Now look here," the rooster said, "I don't want you girls to think I'm complaining, but I just want you to see what they are doing next door."

Source Unknown.


A good many years ago a steel executive, strolling through one of the company's plants, stopped to talk to a long-time employee who was shoveling ore. "How much do you get a week, Flynn?" the executive asked. The man told him. "You ought to be getting more than that. We should pay you a certain amount extra after you have shoveled a stated amount each day." 

"There'd be no use in doing that," the man answered, "I work as hard as I can now. And no matter how hard I work, I can't shovel more than a ton of ore each day." 

The steel executive returned to his office and, in spite of what the man had said, gave instructions to the payroll department to pay him more if he shoveled more. A few weeks later the executive again stopped to chat with the worker who now seemed somewhat embarrassed. "What's the matter, Flynn?" he asked. 

"Well," said the fellow, "I'll tell you. The other day when you were here I told you I couldn't shovel more than a ton of ore a day. I thought I was telling you the truth at the time. But since you have made that new arrangement, I am handling four tons a day, and it does not seem as hard as the one ton I formerly did. Each time a shovelful shoots through the air, I say to myself, 'There's more money for Flynn!'" 

Bits & Pieces, July, 1991.


To get employees to work on time, a Michigan company provides 45 parking spaces for 50 cars. 

Bits and Pieces, April 1990, p. 24.


Just before giving a lavish party at his estate, a tycoon had his swimming pool filled with poisonous snakes. He called the guests together and announced, "To anyone brave enough to swim across this pool, I will give the choice of a thousand acres of my oil fields, 10,000 head of cattle, or my daughter's hand in marriage." No sooner were his words spoken than a young man plunged in, swam across the pool and climbed out--unscathed but breathless. 

"Congratulations!" the tycoon greeted him. "Do you want my oil fields?" 

"No!" gasped the guest. 

"The 10,000 head of cattle?" 

"No!" the young man shouted. 

"Well, how about my daughter's--" "No!" 

"You must want something," said the puzzled host. 

"I just want to know the name of the guy who pushed me in!" 

Hank Lee in Reader's Digest.


Columnist Herb Caen wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle: "Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn't matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle; when the sun comes up, you'd better be running."

Herb Caen.


One of the most grueling of all bicycle races is the Tour De France. A contestant in that event, Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle, describes it in a National Geographic article titled, "An Annual Madness." The race covers about 2000 miles, including some of France's most difficult, mountainous terrain. Eating and drinking is done on the run. And there are extremes of heat and cold. To train for the event, Lassalle rides his bicycle 22,000 miles a year. What kind of prize makes people endure so much hardship and pain! $10,000? $100,000? No. It's just a special winner's jersey. What then motivates the contestants? Lassalle sums it up: "Why, to sweep through the Arc de Triomphe on the last day. To be able to say you finished the Tour de France."

Daily Bread, October 5, 1990.


Recently my wife and I sat charmed at an outdoor performance by young Suzuki violin students. After the concert, an instructor spoke briefly on how children as young as two, three and four years old are taught to play violin. The first thing the children learn, he said, is a proper stance. And the second thing the children learn--even before they pick up the violin--is how to take a bow. "If the children just play the violin and stop, people may forget to show their appreciation," the instructor said. "But when the children bow, the audience invariably applauds. And applause is the best motivator we've found to make children feel good about performing and want to do it well." 

Adults love applause too. Being affirmed makes us feel wonderful. If you want to rekindle or keep the flame of love glowing in your marriage through the years, try showing and expressing your appreciation for your mate. Put some applause in your marriage and watch love grow. 

Dr. Ernest Mellor, Homemade, November 1984.


Countless icebergs float in the frigid waters around Greenland. Some are tiny; others tower skyward. At times the small ones move in one direction while their gigantic counterparts go in another. The small ones are subject to surface winds, but the huge ice masses are carried along by deep ocean currents. Some people are motivated by a desperate situation. A famous paratrooper was speaking to a group of young recruits. When he had finished his prepared talk and called for questions, one young fellow raised his hand and said, "What made you decide to make your first jump?" The paratrooper's answer was quick and to the point. "An airplane at 20,000 with three dead engines."

Dynamic Preaching, June, 1990.


Harry Emerson Fosdick once told how as a child, his mother sent him to pick a quart of raspberries. Reluctantly he dragged himself to the berrypatch. His afternoon was ruined for sure. Then a thought hit him. He would surprise his mother and pick two quarts of raspberries instead of one. Rather than drudgery his work now became a challenge. He enjoyed picking those raspberries so much that fifty years later that incident was still fresh in his mind. The job hadn't changed. His attitude had, though, and attitude is everything. 

Dynamic Preaching, June, 1990.


Every morning I get up and look through the Forbes list of the richest people in America. If I'm not there, I go to work.

Robert Orben.


When I started out in life, all I wanted was to be a football player," says Jack Kemp, who ended up in the pros for 13 years. Today Secretary for Housing and Urban Development, Kemp recalls the encouragement he received from Payton Jordan, his coach at Occidental College in Los Angeles: The coach called me into his office and said, "Of all the people on this team, I really think you have it. I want you to work just as if you were a profootball player." 

When I left that office, I would have run through a brick wall for Coach Jordan. Several years later, at a reunion, I found out that the coach had told all my teammates that same thing. I was furious! For only a minute. Then I realized that Coach Jordan had made every one of us a little bit better, had helped us to struggle a little bit harder, to reach our potential. 

George Allen and Mickey Herskowitz, Strategies for Winning, 1990.


Despite the "Do Not Touch" signs, a museum was having no success in keeping patrons from touching--and soiling--priceless furniture and art. But the problem evaporated overnight when a clever museum employee replaced the signs with ones that read: "Caution: Wash Hands After Touching!" 

Today in the Word, March, 1990.


The following ad once appeared in a London newspaper: "Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful." The ad was signed by Sir Ernest Shackleton, Antarctic explorer. Amazingly, the ad drew thousands of respondents, eager to sacrifice everything for the prospect of meaningful adventure.

Today In The Word, August, 1989, p. 33.


The great industrialist Charles Schwab was quite disappointed when the workers in his steel mill were not meeting their production quota. He asked the foreman what was wrong. "I don't know," he replied, "I've pushed then and threatened to fire them, but nothing works. They seen to have no incentive to produce."

Later, just before the night shift came on, Schwab went back to the plant and asked the supervisor how many heats his crew had processed that day. He was informed it was only six. Schwab took a piece of chalk and wrote a large figure "6" on the floor and walked away. When the other workers came in, they asked what it meant. "The big boss was here today," the manager said. "He asked how many heats were made and then chalked the number on the floor." The next morning the night shift rubbed out the "6" and replaced it with a big "7." When the day workers returned and saw the higher figure, one man exclaimed, "We can do better than that!" His fellow employees caught his enthusiasm, and when they quit that night, they chalked on the floor an enormous "10." It was a 66 percent increase in just 24 hours and all because of Schwab's challenge. 

Source Unknown.


Dale Carnegie comments, "If you want to win ...spirited men to your way of thinking...throw down a challenge."

Source Unknown.


It is said that as the great Michelangelo painted the magnificent frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine chapel--lying on his back for endless hours to finish every detail with great care--a friend asked him why he took such pains with figures that would be viewed from a considerable distance. "After all," the friend said, "Who will notice whether it is perfect or not?" "I will," replied the artist. 

Today In The Word, August, 1989, p. 40.


There's a story about a proud young man who came to Socrates asking for knowledge. He walked up to the muscular philosopher and said, "O great Socrates, I come to you for knowledge."

Socrates recognized a pompous numbskull when he saw one. He led the young man through the streets, to the sea, and chest deep into water. Then he asked, "What do you want?" 

"Knowledge, O wise Socrates," said the young man with a smile. 

Socrates put his strong hands on the man's shoulders and pushed him under. Thirty seconds later Socrates let him up.  "What do you want?" he asked again. 

"Wisdom," the young man sputtered, "O great and wise Socrates." Socrates crunched him under again. Thirty seconds passed, thirty-five. Forty. Socrates let him up. The man was gasping. "What do you want, young man?" 

Between heavy, heaving breaths the fellow wheezed, "Knowledge, O wise and wonderful..." 

Socrates jammed him under again Forty seconds passed. Fifty. "What do you want?" 

"Air!" he screeched. "I need air!" 

"When you want knowledge as you have just wanted air, then you will have knowledge." 

M. Littleton in Moody Monthly, June, 1989, p. 29.


When Lou Little was coaching Football at Georgetown, he had a player who was definitely third rate but had so much spirit he was an inspiration to the team. He rarely saw action except in the last few minutes of a game that was already decided. One day news came that the boy's father had died. The youngster came to Little and said: "Coach, I want to ask something of you that means an awful lot to me. I want to start the game against Fordham. I think that's what my father would have liked most."

Little hesitated a moment, then said: "Okay, son, you'll start, but you'll only be in there for a play or two. You aren't quite good enough and you know it." The boy started the game and played so well Little never took him out. His play inspired the team to victory. Back in the locker room Coach Little embraced the young man and said: "Son, you were terrific. You never played that way before . . . what got into you?" The boy answered: "Remember how my father and I used to walk around arm-in-arm? There was something about him very few people knew--hewas totally blind. This afternoon was the first time my father ever saw me play." 

Bits and Pieces, Vol F, #41.


In 1886, Karl Benz drove his first automobile through the streets of Munich, Germany. He named his car the Mercedes Benz, after his daughter, Mercedes. The machine angered the citizens, because it was noisy and scared the children and horses. Pressured by the citizens, the local officials immediately established a speed limit for "horseless carriages" of 3.5 miles an hour in the city limits and 7 miles an hour outside. Benz knew he could never develop a market for his car and compete against horses if he had to creep along at those speeds, so he invited the mayor of the town for a ride. The mayor accepted.

Benz then arranged for a milkman to park his horse and wagon on a certain street and, as Benz and the mayor drove by, to whip up his old horse and pass them--and as he did so to give the German equivalent of the Bronx cheer. The plan worked. The mayor was furious and demanded that Benz overtake the milk wagon. Benz apologized but said that because of the ridiculous speed law he was not permitted to go any faster. Very soon after that the law was changed. 

Bits and Pieces, April 1990, p. 2.


A city in the Netherlands had a problem with litter. The sanitation department tried doubling the littering fine and even increasing the number of litter agents who patrolled the area, but to no avail. Then someone suggested that instead of punishing those who littered, they could reward people who put garbage in trash cans. A plan to devise a trash can that could dispense coins when litter was inserted was rejected as too expensive. But it led to another idea: the sanitation department developed a trash can that played a recording of a joke when refuse was deposited! Different cans played different kinds of jokes, and the recordings were changed every two weeks. Citizens went out of their way to put garbage in trash cans, and the streets were clean again. 

Discipleship Journal, issue #48, p. 40.


A little boy told a salesclerk he was shopping for a birthday gift for his mother and asked to see some cookie jars. At a counter displaying a large selection the youngster carefully lifted and replaced each lid. His face fell as he came to the last one. "Aren't there any covers that don't make any noise?" he asked. . . Right motives should accompany right actions.

Daily Bread, July 1, 1989.


How do you motivate people to produce, to do a better job? The answer, say motivational experts, is by fulfilling these five needs: Economic security. Workers should feel that their time and effort will be fairly rewarded. Emotional Security. Management must create a climate in which employees "trust" their superiors, and feel that their jobs contribute to a worthwhile goal. Recognition. Employees should feel that good work will be appreciated and praised. Self-expression. We live in a democracy, and none of us should feel that we surrender that heritage when we enter our place of employment. Employees should have the right to communicate ideas, suggestions, fears, and opinions to their superiors without fear of retribution. Self- respect. This is simply the need to be treated as an individual, as a human being--not a statistic. 

Bits and Pieces.



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