Bribe or Hopeful Anticipation?

“What matters most to me is to finish what God started: the job the Master Jesus gave me of letting everyone I meet know all about this incredibly extravagant generosity of God.” Acts 20:24 (The Message)


At the time that I’m writing this, it’s the first week of summer vacation for our littlest while our older two finish up exams.  We have 12 wonderful weeks of summer stretched out before us.  As you are reading this, school has been in swing for almost a month now. However, since the older two are still in school, we are still in “early morning” mode for the next two days, but the youngest has the privilege of sleeping in.

This particular day, I was busy working for a couple of hours, watching the clock so that I could go pick up our middle as she only had one, not two exams today.  When it was time and our youngest still wasn’t awake, I went and gently woke him up, encouraging him that if he would hurry, I would make him the butter and jelly concoction he wanted to eat last night but couldn’t because it was too close to bedtime.  That got him moving with a smile and ten minutes later, he was happily eating it while we were on our way to pick up his sister.


That got me thinking:  Did I use bribery to get him moving faster so we could stay on schedule, or did I just lovingly give him something to look forward to if he got dressed quickly?  How was what I did any different than what we as adults do to ourselves or get from our jobs on a daily/weekly basis?  How many of us plan vacations and then count down the days, getting caught up on work ahead of time at our jobs, mow the grass, pack, stop the mail, etc.?  What about at work: we are motivated to stay late or work harder in order to get the sale in anticipation of the bonus check or comp hours at the end.

Since it’s the beginning of the summer, I’m going to try and implement this tool as much as possible.  Instead of just stating what I need accomplished, I will try and phrase it in such a way that I help whomever I’m talking to anticipate something good in an effort to motivate, encourage and cheer them on to completion of the task.

Isn’t that ultimately what God does for us?  Doesn’t He keep reminding us in His Word about the glory of Heaven that awaits us when we finish the race well?  Doesn’t He encourage us to keep the faith, live in obedience to Him and love others by speaking about rewards that will await us in Heaven for all eternity?  Doesn’t He encourage us to live here on earth but with a mindset that this isn’t our permanent address, just some place we’re passing through?

If God can use hopeful anticipation to keep me on track, then I think it’s safe to say He would be pleased if I choose to use encouragement with those I love as well.

© Cheri Swalwell 2016



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