The Magnificent Seven is a remake of the 1960 film of the same title—which was itself an adaptation of Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 classic Seven Samurai—so originality was never a likely goal to be achieved. Still, the fast-paced action and all-star cast, featuring Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, and a number of other actors who all do an excellent job with their characters, make for a highly entertaining movie that’s surprisingly family friendly as well. While the body count is high, there’s little in the way of seeping wounds or unnecessarily bloody casualties. The swearing is minimal and everyone is fully clothed throughout with no sex beyond a few brief allusions to call girls in the saloon.
The plot centers on the small farming town of Rose Creek, whose inhabitants have the ill-fortune of residing in close proximity to a gold mine run by the relentlessly evil Bartholomew Bogue. Boque’s attempts at taking the town through intimidation and violence work quite well until the recently widowed Emma Cullen hires Denzel’s Sam Chisolm to rescue them. Chisolm, a bounty hunter by trade, then proceeds to put together an unlikely team of miscreants and good-hearted bad guys to help in the endeavor.
Each character has his own reasons for helping the town, some more noble than others, but the why matters little in the grand scheme of things as each plays his part and the group is improved as a result. As Christians, we could do well to remember that fact when trying to work with other believers to accomplish God’s will.
While every follower of Christ has been given the same ultimate calling to share the gospel with those around us, our motivations for doing so are not always the same. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. God has wired each of us differently and he knows that what inspires one person to action will not always have the same effect on another. That’s why, throughout Scripture, we’re given a number of reasons for why we should obey him. Each is valid and should play a part in why we choose to follow Christ, but that doesn’t mean that one is any better or more righteous than another.
In the Old Testament, for instance, we find God repeatedly reminding his people of all that he’s done for them, especially in saving them from Egypt. From Exodus to the Psalms to the Prophets, we find example after example of God defining himself as “the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Exodus 20:2). His purpose in doing so was to remind the Israelites why they were free to serve him in the first place so that they might obey out of gratitude for that blessing. We see a similar motivation in the New Testament where the very foundation of the gospel message is remembering all that Jesus has done for us (1 Corinthians 11:24–28).
For some people, the gratitude such memories invoke is enough to motivate them to obey God and follow his word. For others, different motivations have a greater effect, which is why the Lord doesn’t limit our reasons for obedience to just what he’s done for us.
For some people, the idea that such obedience makes them part of something larger than themselves is the most powerful impetus for action. Scripture is clear that we are part of a community of faith far greater than ourselves that extends back over the course of millennia (1 Peter 2:9–10), and many find great comfort in that connection.
Still others, however, are motivated more by a need for justice (Psalm 99:4), compassion for the lost and hurting (Matthew 25:31–46), or a number of other factors that can drive people to obey the Lord. But whatever a person’s motivations, the fact remains that the why often matters less than the act itself. God has wired each of us differently, made us in such a way that what most inspires us about his character will differ from person to person. Again, that’s not a bad thing so long as it helps us pursue the same goal of sharing his message of grace and forgiveness with a world that desperately needs both.
So, whatever your reasons for serving the Lord, embrace the diversity in God’s kingdom and remember that differences in motivation should only help us join other believers in pursuit of the goal we share as followers of Christ.