Undeserved Rewards

 

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” Here, Mason.”

*crunch *crunch *crunch

“Amber?” I question from my post at the kitchen counter,” Why are you feeding Mason those treats? You shouldn’t just give him treats unless he did something first.”

” He did already,” Amber defended.” The other day I told him to sit and he did and I didn’t have any treats in my hand. When I gave him a treat then, he laid down. ”

Okay, but how does (very) obediently coming into the entry from outside earn him a treat? I wonder.

” From now on, Amber don’t just hand out a treat for no reason, okay?” It doesn’t seem right to reward a fat, old dog for blocking the entry door. Then again, he does get up and move if we aren’t trying to force him back outside. Whatever.

Amber returns to the entry and I resume my kitchen duties.

“Sit!”

*crunch *crunch *crunch

” Amber?! He’s had enough!” I call from the kitchen trying to ‘save’ the treats for a more noble command, a greater accomplishment.

*crunch *crunch *crunch

” Well, he’s already eating this one but that’s all for now,” Amber replies as she returns the box of treats to their place in the closet and goes outside leaving Mason indoors to savor the rewards of his obedience.

Mason didn’t really do anything to earn a treat; he sat mainly because there was that little bone dangling before his nose.  Could Mason ‘earn’ his treats by doing something anymore? I doubt it. He’s too old and fat to learn anything new; therefore, he benefits from the generosity of my siblings and will continue sitting on command when there’s a treat involved.

Now if we take this situation and apply it to us humans, how many of us are like the dog wanting the reward without the work or doing the work just for the reward?

Sometimes we are asked or will be asked to do something with no known reward. How will you respond? Will you do it anyway?

Often it’s the most difficult things in life that have the biggest rewards. For example, assisting a screaming dementia resident to bed while dodging the fists, but then once they are all tucked in and safely in bed they quietly say ” Thank you” before dozing off to sleep. When a ‘thank you’ is  least expected, it’s twice as rewarding.

Maybe it’s been a tough day with a difficult child but at the end of the day they slip you a sweet note, give you a big grin, or say ” I love you” and suddenly you feel God reassuring you that you’re doing okay and the battle is worth fighting.

Are rewards as appreciated or rewarding without hard work, long hours, sweat and tears, or challenging situations? Embrace todays challenges and remember that the privilege to serve and live for God each day should be reward enough.

 

What’s been the greatest reward you’ve received and what led up to it? Share your experiences in the comments 🙂

 

 

 

The Power of Light

Our plane slowly made its decent into the Minneapolis airport.  The night sky was clear  and I could begin to see the city lights below. As I scanned the countryside beyond the city, there were fewer and fewer lights and darkness blanketed most of the land. I began thinking about Jesus’ words, “Ye are the light of the world”. The view from the airplane window portrayed a very clear picture of that. Each light below could represent a Christian in the darkness of this world. Where there are many Christians, like the lights in the city,it creates a light so bright that it can be seen a long way off. Darkness can’t hide it or extinguish it. The light penetrates the darkness of the night sky. The light has power over the darkness. Further out in the country the lights became fewer. Those lights could represent those Christians faithfully serving Christ on the mission field, in the cities , or where ever God has called them to spread His Light. I continued searching for lights. How far can I look until I can’t see any more lights? Then I saw it. One lone light in the midst of the darkness away from any other lights. That lone light reminded me of a person who might be the only Christian in their family surrounded by the sin and darkness they were delivered from and now  pressured by their family and friends to stifle their flame and return to darkness. Or maybe it’s a struggling person feeling all alone and wondering if the Christian life is worth it.  ” Don’t give up, Christian! Keep shining brightly! Don’t let darkness steal your light!” These lights were no longer lights in my mind. They were people living for God in a dark world. My heart went out to that person, those people, who are bravely shining alone, who are fighting the fight of faith without supportive friends or family. To the person who’s about ready to through in the towel, don’t. Please don’t and remember the Light that is within you is greater than the darkness around you.

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photo credits: Roderick

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I paused before entering the house and looked up. The sky was dark and clouds obstructed the view of the starry heavens. I smiled when I once again witnessed the power of light. A little to the east there was a small gap in the clouds and it was through that little opening the moon shone what light it could. It was a clouded light, not very bright or clear but it was light! It was like God whispering,” The world is dark and only getting darker but no matter how dark, I will still shine! I will always be there for my Children. I am not overcome by darkness, but the darkness is overcome by me! Take heart , my Children. I will guide you and I will prevail this darkness!”  Thank you, Father for overcoming this darkness!

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The lights blinked off then flashed on again. Another flash and the chapel was left in semi-darkness. The short sermon was over and we were about to begin the communion part of our church service when the lights went out for no apparent reason. We continued with the service using only the light that was let in from the windows. It was a very impressionable service and various spiritual applications could apply. *Without Christ in your heart it’s dark and shadowy. *  Where there is Light, darkness disappears. We didn’t have lights in the church but the light from outside came through the windows and we were still able to see well enough to continue the service and read the words to the songs. The darkness (Satan) did not keep us from commemorating what Jesus ( the Light) did for us.

How is the Light shining in your life? Can people tell without a shadow of a doubt Whose you are? To our shame we Christians sometimes are more comfortable with shadows in our hearts. We’re reluctant to allow God to inspect each corner with His search light but why? Do we not want Christ to radiate from our lives? Then let’s allow Him free access into our hearts and reveal to us what’s keeping us from Himself, what’s standing in the way of a closer, brighter portrayal of Him.

Thy sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.        Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. 

                                                    Isaiah 60:19&20