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"But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Heb 11:6).

It was a Sunday morning. The kids were age four, six, eight, and ten. Getting them up and fed and ready by 8:00 a.m. so that we could be at church a half hour early to help serve seemed almost impossible. It wasn't really impossible, but I always felt like I was losing my cool and getting a little upset.

With the children being so young, getting them out of the house this early was a lot to expect. We were somewhat tense from trying to perform this miracle every week and then walk into church like we were the most cool, calm and collected people there.

I didn't want to give up serving and helping at church but I didn't want to torture Renee or the kids with the pressure of getting ready so early each Sunday morning and then having to get there earlier than the rest of the congregation.

One of these mornings I came home exhausted and somewhat frustrated from the experience. I got before the Lord and prayed. I said, "Lord, I want to serve you by serving others. I am more than willing but I can't take this out on the kids. It seems too high of an expectation to get them all moving so fast. It's hard to ask them to be this good."

As I was praying and looking at His Word, my eyes glanced down at Hebrews 11:6. "...He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him." It was like a light clicked on in my head.

"I've got it," I told Renee. "I've got a plan! The Lord has shown me what to do!" It was all laid out in my head. "The Lord is a rewarder!" I kept thinking about that statement. I told Renee what I was thinking and she thought it would be good to try so I began to execute it.

I took the kids to Target. At that time, in the toy section, they had one entire wall of toys that were about $1.50 or less. I had all four with me. Three were in the shopping cart and Stephanie was walking.

I took them to this wall of inexpensive toys and said, "Okay you guys, here is the deal. I am going to make a prize box at home with rewards in it for obedience, good attitude and cooperation. I want you to each pick out four things you would like to go in the prize box."

They each picked four of these inexpensive toys. They were pumped! I also picked up a couple of bags of individually wrapped candies like Jolly Ranchers.

When I got home, I got out an old shoebox. I put all the candy and the toys they picked out in the box. Then I made a chart. Their goal was to get one hundred points a week. They would get points for:
  • Having all their clothes put away
  • For being quick to obey
  • For having a good attitude
  • For getting ready for bed on time, etc.
I also gave them extra points on Sundays for:
  • Having their Sunday clothes out before bed Saturday night
  • For having their shoes and coat sitting by the front door
  • For getting up, getting dressed, having their bed made and having eaten breakfast…all within twenty minutes from when they got up.
My goal was to dole out the points so that they could reach 100 points by the weekend if they did good all week. Then they would be able to go into the prize box and pick out three pieces of candy and the prize of their choice.

There is a God!
The first Sunday it was nothing short of miraculous. There was no fighting, no hurrying them up or anything like that. I just reminded them of the points they'd get and how close they were to getting their prize. They were totally motivated and went for it.

That Sunday was like clock work and Renee and I thought we'd get the Noble Peace prize or some award for this plan. The results were incredible to say the least. When they out grew one kind of prize, we'd find something else they wanted. There was period where it was toys, then books, then basketball cards, and so on.

They were always motivated by something. We just had to figure out what that was. We made a chart and kept it in the kitchen. We taught them how to write down their points when we said they could have some. They learned to keep track, to be honest about it, and even to add them up.

That day our lives became so simplified. It was simply the principle of rewards for good behavior. God is a rewarder and so we followed His example. We went on to use that system till they were in there mid teens or even older. It always helped motivate them.

Then one day they all just did what was right because it was right. They didn't need the reward; they didn't need that motivation any more. They matured and moved from being carnally minded to becoming spiritually minded. Doing what was right before the Lord spiritually motivated them.

I am sharing this with you because it was such a powerful tool in our life. Don't ever lose sight that we are all motivated by things. God understands that and uses them to help us move in the right direction.

I know men that are motivated to be nicer to their wives because they want to have sex. Paychecks, bonuses, and many other things motivate people. Earthly things can motivate us and God understands it. That is why He told us that as we become givers, people will give back into our bosom pressed down, shaken together, running over…(Luke 6:38).

Understand that God's principles work. Use them in a right way to bring good results. God is a rewarder is a principle of His and it works!

www.FreshManna.org
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Tim Burt
Web site: Todays Fresh Manna
 
Pastor Tim became a part of the leadership team at Living Word Christian Center in 1984 and served as Associate Pastor from 1989 to 2017. He and His wife Renee, also a Pastor at Living Word, resigned, feeling impressed by God to pursue the tremendous growth of their ministry "Fresh Manna," as well as teaching conferences and seminars, and increasing their involvement on the mission field through Tim & Renee Burt Ministries.
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