Friday, June 17, 2011

Nothing for Something

Today at work I received an email (as did everyone else) regarding a fundraising event that is being held for a good cause.  The event coordinators are saying that for every donation to this cause, an entry will be made to win a prize.  My first thought was something like, "What?  do you have to take the internal reward of doing something nice for someone away from people by making them think they might be getting something material for their generosity?"

It's true, everybody seems to want something for nothing, and nobody wants nothing for something anymore.

The idea that a person might want to be altruistic (generous and giving without expectation of reward or thanks) is nearly unthinkable in today's society.  

Think about it.  I've even seen people applaud children who volunteer to pray aloud or sing in church.  Huh??  If we teach them that we only do something of a spiritual nature if we are rewarded, isn't that setting up an automatic "fail" when the kids grow up and are no longer "cute" when they do something we only expect adults to do?  

I've always been the kind of person that is uncomfortable with applause, especially in the church.  I believe that if I'm doing something to show my love for God, why should someone else tell me I'm doing a "good job"? As I think I've mentioned before - if it was a "job" - I'd quit.  The pay is abysmal and the hours suck.  But it's not a "job" to me.  It's an expression of worship, a ministry.  It's not something I "do" - it's something I "am" and the attitude that reduces it to a widget done for the approval of people cheapens it for me.  He has given me so much; I am grateful and this is my motivation for doing what I do for Him, not the plaudits of people.

I know that there are some who look at another's gifting or talent and wish they could do that; perhaps that is the source of comments like "Good job!"  I get that, which is one of the reasons I don't make a big issue of it when someone says it to me, especially someone who doesn't know me well.  But what these folks fail to see is that they are gifted in areas that I am not, that we all need each other and that God is delighted with the way He has made each of us.  Each of us has intrinsic value.  After all, God gave us a pretty big something for nothing anyway.

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