the reward is in the task

…is what I’ve been told my whole schooling life. The reward is in doing a task and doing it well as if serving the Lord not men.

I went to a school in which awards, rewards, merit and demerit certificates were not given. We did not have school captains or prefects. We were not encouraged to compete with other students – unless competition was intrinsic to the task, such as it is in playing sport. We were not rewarded for achieving or performing well.

The rationale behind this was that all our gifts and abilities come from God and our purpose in using them should be to glorify Him. Also our motivation in doing things should be to serve and become more like Christ. Jesus is our motivation and serving and becoming like Him is our reward. As such the reward is in the task.

It was also argued that rewards could not be justified from a Biblical perspective. In God’s treatment of us we never get what we deserve. We always get far more than that. Far, far more. We ignore, despise, reject and scorn God by trying to live life our own way and He gives us a pardon that costs us nothing and Him everything! Even when we do try to please Him the Bible says that all our righteous acts are as filthy rags. Yet we are constantly given more grace, more love, more peace, more life, more joy.

Knowing that this was how I was taught for 13 years will help you understand the angst I felt at being given a ‘Thinking Blogger Award‘ by Rebecca. I don’t think I’ve ever received an award before – even when my professor wanted to nominate me for one at uni he rather amusingly missed the deadline – so I have never had to face this dilemma before. I have never had to ask myself, do I accept an award knowing that I don’t believe in them? or do I turn an award down on principle and shun the generosity of my awarder? No. I can’t. I don’t think I can do either.

I was reflecting on the content of my blog the other day, before the award was given, and I was thinking about how little I really post of any intellectual or spiritual quality. My blog is a place where I post my random, often angst ridden, and almost always trivial thoughts. The time I spend composing posts is minimal. The effort I actually apply in trying to write beautifully, reflectively and with quality is so minimal I think my name a joke. I considered stepping up the quality and content of my blog but dismissed the thought realising the commitment needed to turn this blog into one of quality was way beyond that which I am willing to invest. Sad really. I chose mediocrity.

In light of this, Rebecca’s award is truly undeserved- especially as it has been given to me by her; she received the award four times over and would be so worthy of a fifth nomination! even her post was metacognitive! – truly gracious and truly an example of how God treats me – with undeserved goodness & generosity. With grace. For this I am thankful and would like to say “thank you, Rebecca!”

Thank you for recognising the moments – as brief as they are – when I do actually think before I post. Thank you for generously giving me an award I don’t feel I deserve. And thank you mostly for reminding me that I should be doing all I can to use my gifts and abilities to serve God in everything I do, for the reward is in the task – it is in getting to know other bloggers with a heart for Christ and Christ-likeness, it is in learning more about God through them, and it is in becoming Christ-like in everything, even blogging.

Thanks to you for reminding me of all this, Rebecca! I will gladly accept your award as a token and reminder of grace! And I will graciously pass the baton on to 5 more thinking bloggers to do with as they please.

To the Dekker’s, John and Radagast – you often make my head hurt with all your thinking. That deserves an award.

To ish – your poetic word play always gets me thinking in new and creative ways about faith, life, the universe and digging holes. Thank you!

To Island Sparrow – your reflections on life are always so thought provoking, inspiring and uplifting. Thank you.

To Candy – you make me think often by being real about your life and faith both on your blog and via email. This has saved me from making some foolish decisions and is worth much more than a Thinking Blogger Award, so please accept this a a token.

And in the true spirit of unbounded grace I am exceding the 5 person limit – ’cause God always give us more than we are entitled to – in order to nominate more people:

Paul (probably – maybe liz) – if you want to think about the God delusion,who invented paediatrics, the meaning of U2 lyrics, Schaeffer, Christians and slavery, global warming and a plethora of other topics often presented from a Christian perspective with keen scientific insight, then Paul’s your man. He’s a thinker.

Lastly, but by no baffling means least, Andrew of A. Stark Place and A. Stark Magazine. I don’t think he stops thinking – ever. The best thing about Andrew’s thinking is that he thinks in often obscure and extremely funny ways which is just plain brilliant. For this I award and thank him.

Phew! That task was rewarding. I think I’m done.

Oh, apparently there is a button thingy you can put on your blog if you want to. I’ll put it in the comments for you to pick up if you wish.

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13 Responses to “the reward is in the task”

  1. missmellifluous Says:

    Bah! I can’t upload the button because I am technologically illiterate. Just email me if you want it:
    missmellifluous@gmail.com

  2. ish Says:

    misselliflous, I am honoured, humbled, delighted by your award. šŸ™‚ And thank you for your supportive comments on the Easter blog. It has been a sustained dialog for several months as you are aware. I love how the blogosphere allows this exchange with people like inc, who I in all likelihood would have no occasion to meet.

  3. candyinsierras Says:

    Hi Miss M. I just got back from Santa Cruz and got your email. I am truly blessed! Thanks! I will also answer your questions from the other day.

    Like you, I am surprised to receive something for my blog. Other people so eloquently write what I would like to write, so rather than write what I would like to write, I enjoy what others wrote. I tend to be random on my blog as well. You do deserve a Thinking Blogger award because you are honest and down-to-earth.

  4. rebecca Says:

    Well, Missm, I’m glad you accepted the award. Perhaps you don’t spend much time on the blog, but the wheels turning in your head show through anyway.

  5. kim from hiraeth Says:

    Amen! The wheels do show through! As one whom you have befriended, though, what shows through most to me is your heart–your generous and tender heart!

  6. candyinsierras Says:

    Hi! Are you able to send me the thinker blogger icon thingie? I don’t know how to access it. Thanks

  7. Steve Grose Says:

    šŸ™‚ Mel, I like the school you grew up in.
    PCCS are a great way to go and tyend to have the advantage over CCS. My bro in law has taught in 2 that have that philosophy ( I think he has been a main proponent of the view described) and I have been involved in commencing 1 and nearly commencing another.
    It is all about GRACE.
    Steve

  8. Radagast Says:

    Well, I’m touched.

    And I’m sure I don’t deserve an award nearly as much as John does for his thought-provoking posts.

    But from childhood I’ve loved getting awards. It’s a childish feeling, but one that the Bible encourages:

    The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’

    “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ (Matt 25:20-21)

    And so, even though the reward is in the task, I’m still happy to get a little gold star…

  9. Radagast Says:

    The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’

    “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ (Matt 25:20-21)

  10. Radagast Says:

    … and so Scripture does support our pleasure in getting little gold stars.

    Therefore, even though I don’t desrve it as much as John, I’m very grateful.

  11. Radagast Says:

    Thank you.

    WordPress lost several of my attempts to comment, but thank you for the gold star.

    And thank you for your blog.

  12. Paul Says:

    Dear Mell,

    Thank you – your praise means a lot to me (I guess you know what men’s egos are like). But I’m conscious that whereas I have brought to my blog things that are important to me, you have brought yourself, and that requires more than thought.

    I hope you enjoyed your break.

    Paul

  13. missmellifluous Says:

    Found your comments, Radagast. I have been thinking about the verses you quoted. They are the ones that seem to oppose the position the school takes on gifts and rewards.

    However, that passage still acknowledges that God is the giver of the talents. They don’t belong to the servants, they are just entrusted to them to be used well.The master calls them to account for how they have been used then graciously gives more and allows the servants to share in the “master’s happiness.” Even though you could say this is rewarding their effort, do you think it is still the goal to please the master and the reward is sharing in his happiness? I am not sure these verses actually do contradict the ‘reward is in the task’ position. What do you think?

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