Luke and The Lost
“Look at me, grandma!” says every grandchild who wants to show off a new talent or accomplishment. “I cleaned my room. Come and see! says every child doing it well for the first time and they know it. How we respond at those moments about doing a work well will shape a young mind forever. What we say and show with our attitude will mold their expectations for later work well done.
Jesus has the greatest wisdom as he advises others about what to expect when serving others and Him. Jesus response might surprise you. In this world, we think we need a reward every time we do something, anything really. We reward ourselves with ice cream for cleaning our home. (Yes, I’ve done that!) We reward our children when something expected of them gets accomplished. We bargain and bribe kids. We give trophies and candy just for trying and participating. Classrooms are stocked with “goody” reward jars. But what is this teaching them?
Let’s see what Jesus has to say about doing what is expected….
Luke 17, The Message
7-10 “Suppose one of you has a servant who comes in from plowing the field or tending the sheep. Would you take his coat, set the table, and say, ‘Sit down and eat’? Wouldn’t you be more likely to say, ‘Prepare dinner; change your clothes and wait table for me until I’ve finished my coffee; then go to the kitchen and have your supper’? Does the servant get special thanks for doing what’s expected of him? It’s the same with you. When you’ve done everything expected of you, be matter-of-fact and say, ‘The work is done. What we were told to do, we did.’”
What do we learn and what should we teach children?
–Attitudes and motivations about serving means everything to our Lord. That is obvious throughout scripture.
–It is a privilege to join Him in His work. Be assured the Lord sees our work done well. He also sees our heart’s motivation for doing what is expected.
–When we do merely what is expected we do not need or should expect a reward. There is a greater, inward spiritual growth with satisfaction for accomplishing what was expected.
–How to teach children…Warning: this is not popular!. Do not reward children with candy and toys for doing what is expected. But do praise them and tell them, “I like how you did that!” Ask, “How did that make you feel to complete the assignment?” Help them understand the inward feeling of peace and dignity for accomplishments. Teach them the joy of learning more and more. Always have more on the topic that peaked their interest in a task. “Since you did this, did you know…”
–If you are doing this well, then children will stop asking, (and sometimes bargaining and demanding), “So, what will I get if I do this?” (How many adults do you know that still ask this?)
–Guess what? UNexpected blessings will come for being obedient to our Lord, walking and talking with Him, following and serving Him by serving others without expecting a reward. We don’t deserve it, but He loves us that much!
–I used this philosophy in the classroom with my young students. I put away the goodie jar and for months we did what was expected without reward but with positive thoughts of what it means to accomplish a work well done from the inside out. After a while, when they least expected it, I threw a small party for all students…just because I loved them, not for what they did.
–Throw away the stickers, stamps and smarties candy and begin to grow responsible adults who do what is expected for all the right reasons.
–“Well done, thy good a faithful servant” from our Heavenly Father is the only praise we need.
Dear Heavenly Father,
You are amazing. Your wisdom and thoughts go far beyond us. That’s why we love to read and listen to Your Holy Spirit guide us and correct us. We serve because we love You. You loved us first and served us by dying and paying for our sin. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You are my all in all. I need you every hour. You are the greatest exm
In Jesus Name, Amen