My two oldest children are both competent readers. I began reading to them when they were infants, and now that they are in grade school, I rarely need to remind them to read on their own. In fact, I usually have to admonish them to put the book down and get to sleep! At school after reading a book, they are encouraged to take a computerized test to evaluate their ability and comprehension. The testing challenges them to reach the next level, and they can test as often as they desire.

One child is very self-motivated and took frequent tests, always striving for the next goal. The other child only participated in the minimum tests required. This child’s teacher and I frequently tried to motivate him to take more tests, but he remained apathetic.

Awards Day arrived. The motivated reader rose early and dressed nicely in anticipation of the trophy she would be receiving. The unmotivated reader asked why he was not receiving a trophy and was astonished to hear that “just getting by” was not going to be rewarded, despite my frequent warnings.

Later that same day, I decided to squeeze in some time with God. I grabbed a devotional, read a short passage, said a quick prayer, and hurried to resume my day. Conviction stopped me dead in my tracks.  I was doing the minimum “just to get by.” It was enough to alleviate my conscience but not enough to truly listen and absorb what God had for me that day. No, He wouldn’t punish me, but I would miss out on the rewards He has for me in His Word. Spending time with God is not another chore on my to-do list, but a privilege.

Grateful for the lesson learned from my son, I sank back onto the couch to commune with my Father and soak in His blessings!