Recognition, Accolades and Wealth


We live in a society of “ME, MYSELF, and MINE”.  We want everything for ourselves.  Nothing is too good for us. We never have enough of anything, we must have MORE, MORE, MORE.

We are teaching this lesson to our children.  They are seeing us, hearing us, and learning from us. They are living with the desires to acquire more. No one is satisfied, or happy.  As soon as one purchase is made, we have a desire for something else. We convince ourselves we will be happy as soon as we have a possession, as soon as we take a trip, as soon as we have a certain amount of money, or as soon as we own a specific home.  It is because we do NOT find happiness in that special purchase that we set our sights on the next purchase. We are not admitting all of these things are smoke screens. We are working for the wrong goals.

Our desires and greed for more is best illustrated in the story of The Rich Man and Lazarus:


There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, “Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.” 

But Abraham replied, “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received you good things, while Lazarus, received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.”

He answered, “Then I beg you father, send Lazarus, to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.”

Abraham replied, “They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.”

“No father Abraham,” he said, “but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.”

He said to him, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”                 Luke 16:19-31 (NIV)

Additionally, we want more recognition for our children.  We want to say our family is perfect.  Everyone excels at EVERYTHING!!  This is an unhealthy approach.  None of us are great at everything and we shouldn’t try to be.  God designed us, and gave us gifts with our strengths. We all have weaknesses. To pretend we do not is silly and ridiculous.

Children are now given awards and acknowledgements for just showing up.  I am not sure how this really came about, but suddenly every child is given a trophy for playing a sport.  Every child in a classroom is given an award on Award’s Day, even if their grades are low and their behavior is disgraceful.  In a New York Times Article by Ashley Merryman, she puts it this way, “Awards can be powerful motivators, but nonstop recognition does not inspire children to succeed. Instead, it can cause them to underachieve.” She continues to state, “But after such praise of their innate abilities, they collapse at the first experience of difficulty. Demoralized by their failure, they say they’d rather cheat than risk failing again.” Merryman goes on to point out, in addition to harming the children who really did not perform well, it hurts those who did.  The children who work hard, feel slighted and cheated out of the recognition for their hard work and many times give up.  In fact, we are doing more harm when we recognize children for just showing up.  Life will not reward them for just showing up, college will be a hurdle and disappointments at jobs will be more devastation.

Dr. Tim Kimmel, in his book, Raising Kids for True Greatness, points out, “God doesn’t add the way we do. In His divine economy, low equals high, patient equals aggressive, small equals big, and anonymity equals renown. When parents figure this out, they don’t make demeaning value judgments about people who don’t make much money, and they couldn’t care less whether their children receive man-made accolades at the expense of a greater good.”

As Christians, our treasures are not of this earth, but of heaven.  Our work should not be for material possessions, but for our Father in Heaven. Consider the outcome of continuing to praise and reward when it is not deserved. 

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