Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Punishment and Reward (Sunday Scribblings)

It's Tuesday, so sue me. The title is Sunday scribblings. At least I am here now.

Like some of you other writers, I'm a teacher, so punishment and reward is a much-discussed topic, but teaching is only my career, not my life or a definition of me. Why am I here? That's the $64,000 question we all ask at one time or another. My answer is... to please God. He made us. He wants us to enjoy life. He wants us to live in joy and to spread joy and to worship Him who created us.

So you are probably asking what does this have to do with punishment and reward? I guess I am looking at it from an eternal standpoint. I think there is plenty of evidence of Godly punishment in the Bible as well as in times not so long ago. But I don't believe He takes pleasure in punishment. As a parent, sometimes I just have to say to the kids, "enough is enough!" I believe that God gets to that point, too. And sometimes what we consider "punishment" is actually discipline used to teach and reinforce a lesson. Admittedly, punishment does exist, and it should, both in the here-and-now as well as in eternity.

Then, there is the reward. When I do what I can to bless others, that blessing comes back to me ten-fold. I believe that with all my heart. It may be something simple as smiling at someone when I'm walking down the hallway, letting someone go before me in a line, not cutting off that car trying to get on the freeway, or giving a quarter to a student who doesn't have enough money for lunch. It may be as elaborate as donating money and toys for various charities that help the needy or delivering gifts to a family in need. It may even be so elaborate as to attend a benefit for charity, tithe at church, or donate a kidney to a relative in need. The movie "Pay it Forward" is an example of something coming back to you ten-fold (or more). I believe in the philosophy that if you serve others, if you help others, if you are kind and generous, you will receive your own blessings, have reason to feel good about yourself, not to mention the heavenly reward we will receive.

To some, that may seem like it will never happen. Some may say, "Oh, I'll worry about that another day." Others may scoff at the idea of a life after death, especially a life NOT as we know it, one that words cannot describe. But I believe that it is my reward waiting for me for a life well-lived. I believe others may "punish" me for my beliefs, but that will mean nothing once the reward is received.

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