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)