What Motivates You?

Fulgentius of Ruspe

Some wise words of scriptural wisdom from Fulgentius of Ruspe (c.467-527):

“In all good works, be careful lest you be stirred by desire for human praise. You ought to be praised in your good works, but insofar as you do them, you ought not to expect human praises. The human tongue may praise you, but desire praise from God alone. And thus it may come about that while you do not seek human praise, God may be praised in your deeds. Recall how much the Lord forbids us to do our righteous works to garner human praise, saying, ‘Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.’ Therefore, when he says that we should look out lest we do our righteous deeds before human beings, that we may be seen by them, and again he commands that our light shine before human beings, is he not commanding contrary things? Certainly not, but he commands that good deeds be done in such a way that we wish, not that we ourselves, but that God be praised in our works…”

Fulgentius of Ruspe, To the Widow Galla, 36. [c.500AD]

Fulgentius of Ruspe was born in North Africa, living in a once luxuriant society in decline; it was departing from Christianity and collapsing to Vandal invasions. As the minister of the Christian church at Ruspe (in what is today Tunisia) he faithfully endured persecution, and later exile, for his commitment to the Triune God in the face of an increasingly dominant Arianism.