I have a conflicted opinion of rewards.
Some people love them, I know. They are motivated by the idea of rewards and regularly set goals with rewards attached.
I might fall into a minority. I kind of wish we didn’t need rewards in order to do the right thing. After all, isn’t just doing the right thing good enough? For example, should I really “reward” my children for getting their chores done, finishing their homework or helping around the house?
There’s this very raw knuckled, workaholic side of me that raises a protest against the idea of getting a reward for what I should be doing anyway. And as a matter of fact, I can easily think everyone else should just do the right thing too without needing a reward.
Thankfully, God has really softened this hard spot in me, especially as it relates to others. Through many hard lessons, God has broken a lot of the judgment that used to keep my heart chained in pride.
But it’s still an issue with myself at times. And if you read my devotion today, you’ll see how God used a hard situation to show me I desire rewards too even though I may not admit it. Rather than tangible ones, I want approval for how hard I work. That’s NOT a healthy desire, and it’s not a lasting reward when I get that type of reward.
As I’ve thought through this idea of rewards, I now believe God placed a desire for reward in each of us. But God wanted us to desire Him and choose the reward of a close relationship with Him.
Jesus Himself talked about rewards and the promise of them from His heavenly Father. In the passage of Scripture I used in my devotion, Jesus is warning His followers against doing good deeds in front of men for the purpose of getting their approval. Jesus promises that our Father will reward us for what we do in secret.
This type of reward isn’t a trip to the park or a new outfit. It’s not a certificate of completion or a blue ribbon.
I believe the type of reward God gives us is a healthy identity, confidence in His love, and peace with whatever happens or doesn’t happen. There will be rewards in heaven too. God’s rewards will be lasting and deep and true and healthy.
The Bible speaks often of rewards, starting in Genesis:
“After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” (Gen. 15:1)
“He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.” (Psalm 37:6)
“I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” (Jeremiah 17:10)
“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6)
While I used to have trouble with the idea of rewards, I now realize they are a biblical concept. The key is making sure we are seeking God’s rewards rather than man’s approval.
Thanks for joining me today. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject.
What rewards has God given you for having a right heart and right motives?
In His love,