"Sweetie, can you rub my neck?"
My neck & shoulders were stiff and sore. I needed someone to ease the knots. My husband wasn't around and Zach would have to do. His ten-year old hands weren't quite as strong as my husband's, but he did a pretty good job of it and right now I was desperate!
Zach gave me a sly look. "Will I get paid?" he asked.
Whatever! I wanted to shout. Can't you do something out of the goodness of your heart? Because you see I'm in pain and need some relief? Geesh! Do you really have to get paid for doing something nice for your mother?!!
Instead, I asked, "Will a dollar be ok?"
"Sure," he said with a big smile.
After five minutes, Zach's hands were already sore (I'm sure they hurt more than my neck!) and he walked away happy, a dollar closer to the new video game he was dying to buy. I, on the other hand, was still achy and although for five minutes my neck screamed, "thank you!", I was left thinking I really didn't get my money's worth - even though it WAS only a dollar.
I must confess my son is not the only one to expect rewards for doing nice things. I think it is natural to want to be rewarded for the things we do. Selfishness is a huge consequence of the sinful nature. It's all about me. What can I get? How much is this nice gesture worth to you? You want me to do that for NOTHING?
Gone are the days of going out of our way to help a neighbor. It might cost something! Maybe not monetarily, but time is precious, you know. If we don't get something out of it, forget it. I'm ashamed to admit that when my grandma, who has never learned to drive, calls to ask if I can take her to the doctor, I inwardly groan and my first thought is, "I hope this doesn't take long. I have important things to do today - like watch the television show I taped last night."
I have certain mental lists - a sort of job description for each of my life titles, including Wife, Mother, Friend, Neighbor, Employee, and Granddaughter. There are things on my lists that I consider part of my job duties, like clean the house, take the kids to school, send birthday cards, call once a week, etc. Anything more than that I want to be compensated for because it's not part of my job description! Zach doesn't think rubbing his own mother's neck is part of his job description, can you believe it? He wanted something extra for his efforts.
When Jesus washed the disciples' feet, He set the perfect example of serving with no expectation of reward. He didn't demand they wash His feet in return. He certainly didn't ask for payment. He didn't even require a "thank you." His heart and motives were pure, His only desire being to show the love of His Father. And that is the true job description of every Christian.
Payment is nice. Being rewarded for things we've done is great too. I'm not knocking it, believe me. I love getting paid for an article I've written, or for cleaning my mom's house (which I do every other week). But there are times when I need to go above and beyond my "human" job description simply because it's the right thing to do. I may not consider driving my Grandma to the doctor part of my "Grandaughter Job Description", but my job description as a Christian outweighs any other. And the funny thing is, when I do something unconditionally, with no expectation, I AM rewarded. It really does feel GOOD to be a blessing to someone who needs one.
Now if I can just teach that principle to my son.