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)
On November 18, 1952, LT E. Royce Williams from his ship the USS Oriskany, off the coast of Korea, was given a bombing mission against North Korean targets as part of a strike group. The pilots flew near a river that bordered the Soviet Union. Upon completing their mission, they received information that 7 MIGs were scrambled to intercept them. Williams was ordered to return and provide protection for his ship.
Have you ever wondered, What do I have to do to live a stable life, to not be twisted with every fierce wind of opposition or pulled from what is right to what is ultimately degrading? How can I have the kind of healthy fellowship with God that will bring joy and fulfillment?
The Denver West Point Society hosted its first Leadership and Ethics Conference for high school juniors in Colorado. It was entitled “Living an Honorable Life.” General (ret) George Casey served as the keynote speaker. I had the privilege of hosting at my table six juniors—Amaya, Grace, Elias, Sandra, Caleb and Haley representing three different high schools and towns. We studied vignettes that featured moral/ethical dilemmas with the students working through ethical decision-making models to reach wise solutions.
Have you ever been frustrated by something that should work and doesn’t? For the last several months I’ve had a rotten time trying to charge my phone. I purchased several charging cords but the connection always seemed to be an issue to the point where many times I would have to hold the phone and firmly push the cord to get a steady charge. I was just about to take the phone into the store and replace it when I had an idea. Taking a pin I probed the cavity where the cord connected and immediately all kinds of dirt and matted hair began to come loose. Honestly, I felt pretty foolish—no wonder the phone was not properly charging—it was plugged up with debris.
Sadie is amazing. Her body is constantly wracked in arthritic pain yet her countenance reveals mostly joy. She has more broken bones than most football players. Her abusive husband died leaving her penniless and with no insurance to handle her ever-mounting medical bills. Still, she does not complain. Her ’96 faded blue Ford Taurus won’t start so she must rely on the help of others to get around until she can find the money to pay a mechanic to fix it. Her son is addicted to meth and her daughter is in her fourth relationship with a man who is a total controller. If anyone was a candidate for bitterness it would be Sadie. Yet she is serene and confident in her faith. She consistently encourages others—an empathy distributing angel in a world of mean, selfish people. What is her secret?
Cabe and Rhonda are trashing their lives. He is an alcoholic and she is a spendaholic. While they love each other, their weaknesses create a bad spiral. Rhonda gets frustrated by the long hours Cabe works and so she rationalizes going on spending sprees. When Cabe gets the credit card bill inwardly he is so mad at Rhonda that he knows he will say things he will regret, so he gets drunk instead. Unfortunately what then comes out of his mouth is even worse. Sadly, both of them know God and inwardly understand that their behavior is unacceptable, but they will not be exiting their spiral anytime soon because of the way they are treated by fellow Christians.
Marianne got up out of the driver’s seat and left our van. I wondered where she was going and was amazed at what I saw. She walked about fifty feet away to a man pulling luggage out of his car. She grabbed his suitcase rolled it to the van and lugged it up the stairs before depositing it in the luggage rack. His bag was huge and she was probably in her sixties. When he climbed into the vehicle with the rest of his gear, he seemed embarrassed that this slight, gray-haired woman carried his heaviest suitcase.
Colossians 3:5,8,12,13—Therefore, put to death what belongs to your worldly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry . . . But now you must also put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth . . . Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive.