do we do the things we do? Why have kids? Why get up and go to school,
get a college education, choose a career, work hard at your job, at
your relationships, at life?
We live life through a series of
efforts and rewards. We learned it at an early age. Good behavior begot
rewards from our parents or teachers. Good grades earned us the honor
roll, perhaps scholarships or trophies. A job well done, warranted a
raise. A well-written book garnered fans, awards, the favor of our
The reward of selflessness or
giving put us in amiable relationships. The payoff for loving someone
was being loved in return.
We rarely continue to work hard
at a job or in a relationship, to keep giving, if we receive nothing in
return. It’s why socialism cannot produce greatness. The human heart
engages only so long when it is not rewarded.
When I worked in the corporate
world, my boss thought the mere privilege of having a job should
motivate me all through my fifty-hour work week. She was known to stick
an employee’s review, and the raise, in her desk drawer for months, if
not the entire review year.
She was rewarded and honored,
but she didn’t want anyone else to receive such. Many employees had
worked together for years, and we liked one another, our jobs, and our
customers, so we found a good deal of reward in showing up for work
each day, but we never did the job for her because she was the brick
wall to our financial rewards.
And after a few years, attitudes
began to sour. No surprise.
A novelist’s career is
difficult. A writer goes days and months without an outside word of
encouragement. The more books released, the more reader feedback, but
in the early days, the response is nominal.
It’s hard to write your heart
out only to have reviewers casually breeze through your book and write
a ho-hum review. I’ve read reviews where the reviewer made a claim
about the story that wasn’t true. Had he paid attention to the story,
he’d have written something different.
is the handmaiden of reward. We all face and deal with it in the
pursuit of reward. Any parent of a difficult or challenged child
understands laboring without reward, but knowing that one day the fruit
This week I’ve been wrestling
with how to motivate myself while waiting for the reward. After a
while, the motivation to keep going becomes a trickle instead of a
stream. And I hope to find myself in a river.
comes a time when the
drive, motivation, hope, and financial resources just run dry. We all
need reward to fill us back up.
listened to an audio excerpt
from a book called “Running to Win” by Kris Vallotton. He recounts how
he motivated his employees by making them a more integral part of the
sales process. He paid the commission weekly rather than monthly.
Immediately, he saw an increase in productivity.
So this past week, as I
meditated on reward, I began to talk to God. “Hey, You brought me here,
This verse came to mind: Genesis
15:1. God told Abraham, “I am your exceedingly great reward” (NKJV).
At the end of it all, whether I
reach the heights of success or the depths of failure, God alone is my
reward. He is my friend. He loves me. He has plans for my welfare not
calamity, to give me a future and a hope. If I need justice, He is the
one I petition.
At one time I told Jesus I’d sit
with Him on the back row as long as He remained with me. I can’t now
say, “It’s time to move,” when He’s not moving.
So what do I do with
disappointment and the wondering about reward? I do what Mary did in
Luke 10. I sit at His feet. Jesus said, “[this] one thing . . . will
not be taken from her” (v. 42 NKJV)
He is my reward.