Rewarded behavior


I take my job as a nanny pretty seriously. While I’m not with the kids all the time, when I am with them, I do my best to help instill values and important life lessons.

Lately, we’ve been working a lot on behavior. Not surprising, is it? Kids working on their behavior. This is pretty classic. Alex, the 6 year old boy I take care of, has been dying to get this new game on his mom’s iPad. In order to get the game, she told him that she really needed to see a change in his behavior.
All day, Alex was obsessing over the game and how he could get his hands on it. He would ask me nonstop what constituted “good behavior”…what he needed to do. He was seeking out the bare minimum…hoping to achieve his goal and win his prize without any real effort.
I kept reminding him that the point of the behavior shouldn’t revolve around the reward. You should listen to your mom, respect grownups, stop kicking your sister, and stop saying “tooshy” (and other unpleasant potty words) because you truly, genuinely care…not just because you are expecting a reward.
“Doing what is right doesn’t always win you a prize,” I’d tell him, “but it teaches you how to be a gentleman and how to respect others.” My life lesson flew right over this 6 year old’s curly blonde head.

As I was trying to convince this little boy of my theory, I began questioning it myself.

In “Christian world”, are we just going through the motions, blowing through the things on our checklist that need to be done so that we are rewarded in the end?

Having a genuine faith can be difficult. As humans, it’s hard sometimes not to look at everything from the stand point of “what’s in it for me?”.

Are we volunteering, serving at church, leading groups, baking brownies, smiling, praying, and saying “God bless” because we actually care about others? Are we doing those things because our faith in God is so authentic that we just can’t help it? Or are we doing those things to gain a pat on the back?

Image is huge. We want to do the right things, say the right things, and be the people we believe we should be. But it means nothing if there isn’t a genuine care behind our actions.

God hasn’t called us to follow Him, follow His commands, and obey so that Christians at church accept us and we get a golden ticket nonstop to Heaven’s gates. His hope for each of us is that through our behavior and actions, we develop true, authentic, real love for one another, for His kingdom, and for Him.

I’m reflecting on my behavior and actions tonight. Will you do the same? What are you doing out of authenticity, and what are you doing merely because you are expecting something in return?

Are we only obeying because we are expecting God to bless us and secretly hoping for that…
iPad game?
Pat on the back?
Raise at work?
Diamond ring?

Jesus already paid the biggest price for us…so what other reward are we looking for?

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