To wonder if bad things are punishment for messing up, and blessings are rewards for doing good.
Even though I don't really believe those things, I sometimes feel that way. But that is flawed thinking. The punishment for 'messing up' is dying. Forever.
But by grace, through FAITH, I have been promised to live forever.
And as far as 'doing good'... well... my righteousness is like filthy rags to God.
However, I do believe that God does bless us. Just because He's Good. :)
I said all that to say:
I had a little lesson on obedience and rewards this week.
We don't watch much tv in our house. Maybe 3-4 hours a week? (We tried to get rid of it, but it came back all by itself. More on that story another time.) We hardly ever, ever watch tv in the evenings. However, there is one show that I enjoy, and the whole family has gathered around for a few weeks to watch.
But then one week there were several things that made Greg and I wince at the fact that the boys were watching too. Never mind the fact that being absorbed in the tv was a pretty crummy way to spend the last hour of the day before their bedtime. And the next day I had the thought that we probably shouldn't watch anymore.
I didn't want to believe that thought was God's idea or anything, because that would mean giving up the show. But over the next couple of days He did keep bringing it to mind and I
obediently submitted finally gave in.
Okay. We wouldn't watch the show anymore.
So... if we were rewarded for 'doing good' you might think that the evening of the tv show (that we didn't watch) we all sat around in our pajamas in a perfectly clean living room, snacking on popcorn and cheerfully playing board games together, right?
That last hour was wild, chaotic, busy, and messy.
And in the midst of all the chaos, it hit me:
I would be SO FRUSTRATED if I was trying to see & hear a tv show right now.
The reward I received that night wasn't FOR obeying, it was IN obeying.
My obedience was the only thing different about that evening. Had I stubbornly decided to watch that show anyway, would all the chaos have been punishment? No, it would have been life. But I would have been stressed, angry, and snappy.
As it was, we happily (for the most part) bumbled our way through the chaos and got everyone to bed feeling loved.
It was a good end to the day, and I learned a huge lesson:
Just like disobedience often has natural consequences, obedience has natural rewards!