First Sergeant Eric Johnson was tired of spending Saturdays inspecting the 98 dorm rooms occupied by his airmen. Most of the rooms were a mess, and it did not seem like inspecting was making a difference in improving standards. So the innovative senior master sergeant went out and bought coins. After the next inspection, he arranged with a warrant officer to have a female airman show up at the company headquarters without explaining why. Everyone thought she was in trouble. When Eric arrived, he announced that she had the most squared-away room, and he gave her a coin with her name inscribed on the back. His action gratified her, and word spread like wildfire through the dorm residents.
Three weeks a month, Eric inspected one floor (about 32/33 rooms). Each week, he gave out a coin with the inscribed name of the airman with the cleanest room. Soon, he had to put names in a hat and draw the “lucky” winner because the rooms were so clean. It was not long before Saturday inspections passed quickly, and Eric could golf or do other enjoyable activities. Before he left that assignment, Eric hosted a barbecue with invitations to coin holders only to honor and bless them for their efforts.
Matthew 16:27--For the Son of Man is going to come with His angels in the glory of His Father, and then He will reward each according to what he has done.
We can learn so much from what Scripture does not say. Jesus did not promise that He would return with His angels in God’s glory to torch lazy Christians and punish all those who performed poorly in the faith. He incentivized all of us to look forward to His return with the promise of reward. We work harder when we know there is a benefit coming. To incentivize is to motivate people to perform beyond what is the norm. Rewarding people for greater effort is far better than punishing them for substandard effort.
Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz observed in The Power of Full Engagement, “Extrinsic rewards have actually been shown to undermine intrinsic motivation.” Edward L. Deci opined in Why We Do What We Do, “When people proffer rewards without intending to control there is less likelihood that the rewards will have deleterious effects.” In essence, wisely use rewards for appreciation and motivation, but not to manipulate or control. Eric changed an entire culture by investing at his own expense in a token coin. Imagine how great Christ’s reward will be to His followers who are willing to lose their lives for His sake, willing to deny themselves, pick up the cross, and follow Him (16:24)!
“What gets rewarded gets repeated.”—James Robbins in Nine Minutes On Monday
©2022 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed, subject to the inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)
Competition is one of my signature strengths. I don’t like losing or being wrong. By God’s grace I am mellowing with age. So, I can somewhat identify with John when he and his buddies were bothered that someone they didn’t know was taking on demons in the power of Jesus’ name yet wasn’t part of their signature team. I’m sure he felt that that it was completely inappropriate for one who was not spending time at the feet of the Master to minister as a supposed follower. But John and his fellow disciples were misguided in their thinking.
Pound for pound Manny Pacquiao may be the best boxer ever. Born December 17, 1978, Manny is not just a Filipino fighter; he is also a politician, musician and actor. Given his popularity, he may be his country’s president someday. Manny is the first boxer to become an eight-division world champion. He won six world titles and is the first man to win the lineal championship in four different weight classes—an astounding accomplishment. The Boxing Writers Association of America named Manny the “Fighter of the Decade” for the 2000s.
Recently, I spoke to about 400 men on the topic of unwinding. I could not find the word unwind in Scripture, but its synonyms relax and rest are plentiful throughout God’s Word. There is a strong theological foundation for rest. Did you know that God modeled unwinding? Genesis 2:2—“ By the seventh day God completed His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done.”
Bryan and I watched an exciting High School football semi-final game at PGE Stadium in Portland. We were excited to cheer for the Southridge Skyhawks, the team he helped manage last year. They played superbly, won their game and will play for the state championship. I imagine it must be a pretty heady feeling to win big and feel the love and adulation of adoring fans. Unfortunately, fame and fortune are all too fleeting. The need to be noticed and to be important lasts for a while until some new hero or star emerges.
Have you ever wondered whom God notices?
Daniel and Joseph are two of my greatest Biblical heroes. I admire their impeccable character, inspiring faith, strong understanding of God’s sovereignty and consistent obedience to God’s will. Both of them excelled as leaders. Daniel was so highly esteemed by God that when he asked Him questions the Lord dispatched Gabriel, one of the most powerful angelic beings, to answer his concerns. Imagine praying and then having an angel walk in your room with God’s response!
They are mentioned in one paragraph in the Bible and then (with the possible exception of Acts 15:22) never again. They walked near Jesus from the time He was baptized by John to His ascension to heaven but we know next to nothing about them. What kind of personality and gifting did each man have? How frequently did they gain access to the Master?
Raul lives in Chinandega, Nicaragua and serves with our First Cause team by translating Reverations into Spanish. Recently Raul* lost his job yet needed funds to help pay his school tuition and for a training conference with Timothy Academy in Honduras. I wired Raul money based on the bank instructions he gave me. But when he went to the bank they said no funds had arrived. For three weeks this went on—each time Raul went to the bank they reported no money. Yet on my end I had a receipt showing $146 was wired. Raul believed me and I believed Dolex Dollar Express and we both trusted God but Raul had no funds.
Recently I had the opportunity to go back for my 25th college reunion. On a beautiful Friday morning we met in the cadet chapel to honor in a memorial service our classmates who have passed away. Dave Mead, my old roommate, planned within the service the opportunity for people to come up to the microphone and share memories of those who had died. Mike Meese was one of many who walked up and paid tribute to our departed comrades. Mike shared a brief story about John Hennessey, a fellow Company D2 member.
I often notice when I meet people for the first time they look at my chest. Now that sounds weird doesn’t it! What I mean is that when I am wearing a uniform I often feel like I am being sized up or evaluated for the cloth patches sewn on my shirt. Whether it is the military, Girl Scouts, AWANA, varsity jackets, etc., patches, medals ribbons and pins tell a story of what kind of training or accomplishments a person achieved.
All around the planet somewhere, someplace, someone is worshiping God—24/7! Heaven is the final destination of praise, prayers, confession, thanksgiving and the place where songs, dance, shouting, offerings and communion unfold before an adored Father. If you asked me to pick the single most important thing I could do in life I would unhesitatingly answer, WORSHIP!
She sits on the sofa biting down on the flesh of her left index finger. It’s an old habit and the sure indicator of mounting frustration. The pattern started near the end of college and extends through five jobs, a mediocre marriage and raising four children. Allisson hardly feels His presence anymore. She’s surrounded by friends and truth be told, spends hours each week instant messaging them or talking on the phone. She carts her kids to sports events. She’s seen every elementary play and never missed a parent-teacher meeting. Pastor Mike calls her first if the nursery helper calls in sick. She is the model of dependability. So why does Allisson feel dry like some sponge left in the sun? Why does she cry when her husband asks her what’s wrong?
Boos descended upon the row of stern-faced officials. The crowd was more than displeased. They were incredulous. Jamie Sale and David Pelletier sat stunned themselves. They skated their best routine on ice. Everyone expected marks that would award the Canadian pairs figure skaters a gold medal. Instead they were mulcted by dubious deductions. The Russian dynasty of gold continued. But the snow-capped mountains around Salt Lake City could not contain the growing allegations of conspiracy among several judges—a controversy still unresolved.
I love Alan. Every Sunday morning he is the first one to drive to Fowler Middle School unload his car full of sound equipment and set everything up for the worship team. When church ends, he is the last to leave, loading the gear back up to take back home. He serves with the heart of a lion and the strength of an elephant. It doesn’t matter what the weather is like, or how hard a week he had at Precision Cast he comes to worship! He plays his guitar with the same enthusiastic zeal. And that ol’ six-string friend was getting pretty worn.
If the world was a scale it would not be able to measure this treasure. If we took all the money minted and printed throughout history from the entire globe and made one gigantic deposit in an effort to buy this prize it would be like licking the pyramids in order to dissolve them. If the earth’s greatest musicians and singers composed the most perfect melody it could not touch the soul like this gift from heaven. God’s love cannot be weighed or purchased or matched. It is eternal in life and measureless in amount.
Acts 4:13--When they observed the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and recognized that they had been with Jesus