“So I jump ship in Hong Kong and make my way over to Tibet, and I get on as a looper at a course over in the Himalayas. A looper, you know, a caddy, a looper, a jock. So, I tell them I’m a pro jock, and who do you think they give me? The Dalai Lama, himself. Twelfth son of the Lama. The flowing robes, the grace, bald… striking. So, I’m on the first tee with him. I give him the driver. He hauls off and whacks one – big hitter, the Lama – long, into a ten-thousand foot crevasse, right at the base of this glacier. Do you know what the Lama says? Gunga galunga… gunga, gunga-galunga. So we finish the 18th and he’s gonna stiff me. And I say, “Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know.” And he says, “Oh, uh, there won’t be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.” So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.” –Carl Spackler, Caddy Shack
If you could choose any reward for a job well done, what would it be? Would you have to think long and hard about it, or make a snap decision? What if there was seemingly no reward? No recognition?
The mother of James and John, two of Jesus’ disciples, had in mind a reward for her sons. She requested of Jesus that they be given seats of honor in heaven, one to Jesus’ right and one to his left.
As a parent, it is natural to want to see you children rewarded when they do well. Grades, trophies, verbal acknowledgments, scholarships, job placement, advancement…we never grow tired of hearing of our childrens’s accomplishments, do we?
When Derek and Craig were younger, Jim and I chose to give them an allowance if they completed their chores by the desired deadline. This was also an opportunity to teach them about money. They were allowed to spend their money anyway they wanted (within reason) but if they wanted something that cost more than their allowance, they had to save for it.
For Derek, a more expensive item might be clothes. We budgeted a certain amount for their clothes and if Derek wanted “mall clothes”, he had to make up the difference himself. This was never a problem for Derek; he was very particular about his clothes!
For Craig, it was often a video game, something that he would only receive for Christmas or his birthday. Again, he did a very good job of saving his money.
Sometimes, there were items that took many weeks, even months to save up enough for. Some of the items they mentioned made me cringe. Not that there was anything wrong with the item; it was just something I felt was a waste of money.
After saving the desired amount, they would sometimes change their minds and bank the money or put it toward a difference purchase.
There were times that Jim and I would buy them something as a reward. Maybe a good report card or for being extra helpful. But not always. I wonder if the times we did not buy them something, if they felt like our verbal praise was enough.
Whether they earned an item through their allowance or an occasional gift, I know that they struggled , watching other children who received “great rewards” for their accomplishments. And worse yet, the ones who received gifts but did not have to do “chores” or even make good grades.
As adults, we can relate to that. We all know people who seem to float through life, virtually untouched by the hardships we endure and even seem to prosper with little or no effort at all. They get the desired job, the increased salary, new car, big, new home and lead a seemingly “perfect” life.
John and James’ mother felt they deserved a great reward. A place of honor in heaven. It does not mention that she bragged on her sons or listed their attibutes. It mearly says she asked Jesus for this favor. That her sons be rewarded above all others. Wow…talk about some nerve!!
And yet…I can relate. There are days that it gets to me. Try as I might to focus on Christ, my eyes wander to the world around me. I see things I want, not just for myself, but for those I love.
Psalm 47:4 tells us that God has chosen our inheritance for us. We don’t have to ask. We don’t have to list our strengths or accomplishments. He has chosen what he will bless us with. There is the answer to my longing. There is the focus I need to keep. On God…on his will for me, secure in the knowledge that, no matter what this world brings, good or bad, my hope, my future lies in God.
I don’t know about you…but I bet God’s inheritance for me is far better than anything this world has to offer!