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)
It will go down in history as perhaps mankind’s most bizarre year. Never has the entire globe in unison shut down because of a virus. Restrictions in travel, work, recreation, size of gatherings etc., have ruined businesses, increased the number of suicides and deaths for those with other ailments who cannot be hospitalized, amped fear to unprecedented levels, and created a huge divide in opinion over what should or should not be done. Meanwhile political unrest, rolling waves of violence, storms and disasters add to the cacophony of 2020.
This past year was one of the toughest I can remember. For the first time I have asthma and now require a daily inhaler to keep my lungs functioning. I never suffered from food poisoning until this year. Shortly after returning from Africa in August, I underwent an appendectomy without TRICARE (health insurance we had except for this past year). In November, within days from returning from Peru, I went down hard with bronchitis, possible pneumonia (both firsts) and a sinus infection that went into my eyes. Finally, with free medication, the exhaustion, chills, cough and infections are receding. It was similar for my son Bryan—he too endured a rough year battling surprising illnesses to include a scary ambulance trip to the hospital.
I love how God blesses us in unexpected ways to reinforce His truth. Today, while writing this devotional, I went downstairs to eat breakfast in the Mobile, Alabama Marriott. I gave the hostess my room number so she could charge me. (Actually, my expenses were covered by the church that invited me to speak.) But she declined to do that. Instead she gave me an extra coupon and insisted that I eat at no cost. God gave me and the church blessing me a reminder that our daily bread was indeed a gift from Him.
Matthew 6:11—Give us today our daily bread.
Psalm 111:2,3—The LORD’s works are great, studied by all who delight in them. All that He does is splendid and majestic; His righteousness endures forever.
1 Thessalonians 1:2—We always thank God for all of you, remembering you constantly in our prayers.
In my last Reveration (Asking) I shared about meeting Jeff Knight at a Founder’s Day Banquet. The following Wednesday I was standing beside the plane at the Denver airport waiting for my bag to be delivered. Next to me was an elderly gentleman who asked me what my job was (I was in uniform). I explained to him that I was responsible for Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) for the United States Army Reserves. He then shared that he once served as the Professor of Military Science (PMS) for Wheaton College. Knowing Wheaton’s admission standards for the PMS position, I asked the gentleman if he was a Christian. Indeed he was. Then I noticed that he was wearing a sweater with the Army mule emblem. I asked him if he was a West Point graduate. Indeed he was—graduating in 1952. He then shared that his wife’s brother-in-law was also a classmate of his and that his name was (are you ready!!!) Jeff Knight.
Have you ever sat on a plane and gone in circles? San Francisco airport is fogged in and so we fly around the city in a holding pattern waiting for permission to land. The airplane is sufficiently equipped for the pilot to take us to the runway we can’t see but he does not have permission. Despite the security of a Captain’s confident promise that he can fly us down when needed, fear etches the faces of folks who probably have not flown here before. Eventually we land in fog so thick even the wing is obscured!
As I walked up the road from our hotel on our way to dinner, a young man walked up to me and handed me a grasshopper he made from a palm leaf. He said, “Pura vida! Welcome to Costa Rica.” Intrigued by his friendliness, I began conversing with him and he tried to show me how to create a palm grasshopper (a humorous undertaking). The rest of the family joined us and prompted by the Lord, I invited Carlos to join us for dinner. Because Sarah and Mark are fluent in Spanish we enjoyed interacting with him at a nearby restaurant.
I just finished reading the best book I ever read concerning Biblical principles on giving wisely. The author is Jonathan Martin and the title of his book is Giving Wisely? You can find and purchase it from www.amazon.com.
Revelation 22:17—Both the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” Anyone who hears should say, “Come!” And the one who is thirsty should come. Whoever desires should take the living water as a gift.