There’s no doubt that in most cases and most of the time, positive reinforcement works. We’ve used it on people and it has been used on us to achieve desirable outcomes. If you’re not familiar with how this works, consider our friend, the mouse to our left. Every time he presses the lever, he receives a reward, namely food. While we’re not mice, we have come to expect the same in our lives, not to mention how cheated we feel if we do not receive what we believe we deserve for compensation for performing well. The worker who works harder than the rest will soon become frustrated if she doesn’t receive some sort of recognition for hard work.
Wages and Gifts
But that’s the trouble, isn’t it? A worker is a hired laborer who deserves or has EARNED compensation for their work, therefore when the paycheck arrives, it isn’t a gift, rather it’s the worker’s wages.
The difference between wages and gifts is that wages are earned by work, gifts are given regardless of merit and often in spite of merit. They are things which are given not out of necessity but out of love.
I remember when I used to work for a diesel parts distribution warehouse. We had some really hard working men there, but we also had some men that literally did as little as possible each day. You know the kind; they called off as often as possible, didn’t respect anyone else. One year for Christmas the owner called us all together and handed out Christmas gifts; we received a turkey and a jacket.
If found it interesting that everyone received these gifts, EVERYONE. Even the workers who were lazy – it didn’t matter whether you earned it or not, whether you even cared or not that they were giving us gifts. At the end of the day, the company offered us all gifts.
Receiving the Gift
I remember how some of the men could have cared less that the company had offered us gifts; some of the workers even scoffed at it, thinking they deserved more! As I walked to my vehicle I turned to see my co-workers walking to their vehicles. So many of them didn’t receive the gift that was being offered.
That, however, is the nature of receiving a gift. You can either take it or leave it, but you can never deny that it was offered, nor can you determine that it was something that you earned. The gift given isn’t something you’ve earned or deserve, nor can you determine the motive for the gift; the only function you play in receiving a gift is either in refusing or accepting the gift.
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. Ephesians 2:8-9 NLT
Sincerely, I pray that if you haven’t received this gift of salvation that you consider holding out your hands to God and accepting it today. He is offering it to you. There are no amount of good deeds which will get you into Heaven, being a “good person” won’t do it, giving money to charities won’t do it, working in the homeless shelters won’t do it, nor will fighting for the rights of others… it’s only through Jesus.