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FRONT-PORCH GOSPEL: Motivation may come from surprising sources!

Good week to all. Welcome to the “front porch.”

For years, Zig Ziglar, the great motivational speaker, would gather his staff every Monday morning for a devotion. He called it, “the best fifteen minutes of the day.” I have carried that idea with me for many years and used it in numerous settings. So, today, I want to welcome you to this “best fifteen minutes” of the day. It won’t take you fifteen minutes to read, but you can mull it over for that long. In fact, you can mull it over all day, and maybe it will make the difference.

I heard Mr. Ziglar tell a story once that I’m going to relate here. The topic he was exploring was that of “motivation.” Of course, motivation is more important than opportunities and even talent. Without it, we hardly get the car out of the driveway. I suppose it was motivation that prompted the five-talent man and the two-talent man of Matthew 25 to go out and double their talents. A lack of it, too, caused the one-talent man to dig a hole and bury his. We all have to dig down and find the motivation we need to accomplish good things for the Lord.

But, note, too, that motivation can come from surprising sources. Read on.

There was once a west-Texas rancher who had one of the biggest spreads in the whole state. It had the finest grazing land, the best water and trees around, and a beautiful view. One day he decided to have as many of the young, single, up-and-coming businessmen around to come to his ranch for a huge get together. But it wasn’t just a get together. He wanted to teach the young men a great lesson in motivation, because he knew that their motivation ultimately would determine their success.

As the party neared an end that night, he called all of the young men out to an Olympic-size swimming pool he had built, a pool he had the foresight to stock with alligators and water moccasins. He gathered those boys around the pool and said,

“Boys, I want to see who will be the first one to swim across this pool. If you can be that first one, I have a splendid prize to give you. I will give you a hundred of the very best acres on my land. But if you don’t want that, I will give you a million dollars. And if you don’t want that, I will give you my beautiful daughter to marry. She is the only heir of all of this huge estate, so you will end up having it all.”

About that time, the rancher heard a splash in the water at the end of the pool. He looked and saw a young man swimming with blazing speed the length of that pool. It would have been a world record, no doubt, as he tore out through the snakes and alligators. When he reached the other end and climbed out drenching wet, all the other young men ran to him to congratulate him, as did the rancher. The rancher greeted him with a big Texas smile and a hearty handshake, and said,

“Well, son, congratulations. You have just earned yourself a big payday. I’m a man of my word, so tell me what it is that you want. Do you want me to give you a hundred of the best acreage on my ranch?”

“No sir,” the young man answered.

“Well, do you want the million dollars. It’s all yours for swimming the length of this pool.”

“No sir,” the man answered again.

“So, I suppose, then, you want me to give you my beautiful daughter in marriage?”

“Oh, no sir,” the man responded.

“Well,” said the rancher, perplexed. “If you don’t want any of these things, what is it that you want?”

“Sir,” the young man answered, “I just want the name of the fella who pushed me in the pool.”

Coach Steven Bowen, a long-time Red Oak teacher and coach, now enjoys his time as a full-time writer and preacher of the gospel. In addition to his evangelistic travels, he works and writes for the Church of Christ of Red Oak at Uhl Road and Ovilla. Their worship times are 10 a.m. Sundays and 7:30 pm. Wednesdays. Email: or call or text 972-824-5197.

Ellis County Press

208 S Central St. 
Ferris, TX 75125