Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Praise Before Raises

As part of Grandfather Francis' church duties, he would give short messages during the service. I found a cryptic outline for one:

Offertory message.
Talk about tithes & offerings
This morning let's talk about the word praise
That's spelled with an E on the end.
School children --
Employees -- survey -- praise before raises.
Praise members -- whose effort in giving and work has make our church bldg a reality

I can't reconstruct what point he was trying to make with the "E on the end" line. I can guess he may have talked about how we praise children, and how bosses praise their employees, or not. That survey may have revealed -- at one time during the 1970's or 1980's -- that many workers wanted more recognition or more encouragement over more cash.

It makes sense. I remember a colleague at a former TV newsroom recalling how he could live without a raise if the staff would just get a few thank-yous once in awhile. This was a station that was used to dominating the competition by a wide margin, but it didn't happen by default. Our newsroom dealt with crummy equipment, long hours, amateur reporting, egos, idiots and other nuisances every day to get the news on the air. At times I believed our general manager took us for granted, even if he didn't take our success for granted.

I remember one year, at a staff meeting, he talked about how several people had asked him about when they might get a raise. He spoke almost flippantly, in a what-do-you-expect tone. He gave us raises anyway, but not without some grumbling, I figured.

A lot of us are trying to give to GOD consistently, but not exactly joyfully as GOD tells us (2 Cor. 9:7). We all know it's tough, but realize this: GOD already owns all your money; you're just borrowing it from HIM, as stated in Deuteronomy 8:18: "But remember the LORD your GOD, for it is HE who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms HIS covenant, which HE swore to your ancestors, as it is today." In that light, it seems awkward to complain about giving regularly and sacrificially.

Since GOD already owns all our money, it really means nothing to him without the gratitude of the person putting it in the box to back it up. 1 Samuel 15:22 (NIV) says: "But Samuel replied: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams."

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