So, yesterday I wrote about my Freakonomics movie experience and how it reminded me why I don’t like incentive based programs. Kids get left out because the same incentive doesn’t work for all kids. I was having lunch with my boss on Monday and he asked me a question about what I got out of it and it caused me to think about a different side of incentives. His questions caused me to think about incentives in my life. I recognized that even I don’t respond to the same incentives in every area of my life.

For instance, last year I lost over 30 pounds in 3 months. I’ve been a lazy bum and have gained some of it back, but it’s time for me to pick up the running and healthy eating routine again and I just haven’t been motivated. What I’ve learned is that in order for me to lose weight, there have to be three things present. Accountability, competition and some kind of prize. Without those things, I’m just not as motivated. It felt really great to fit in some clothes I wanted to wear, but that great feeling isn’t enough incentive for me. When it comes to doing a great job in ministry, I don’t need the same kind of incentives. I don’t really enve need someone telling me I’ve done a great job. I’ve got an internal drive that pushes me forward because I just care about it. Funny how that is, isn’t it.

I’ll be even more vulnerable right now. One of my biggest struggles in the last few years is sitting down to read my Bible every day. The desire is there but when left to my own, there’s a good chance that it’s not going to happen. Now I have lots of accountability in my life and as a group we’ve tried all kinds of things from calling each other, sending emails and texts to encourage each other to take the time. It works some of the time, but not perfectly.

Initially, my mind things, “well, I just haven’t found that incentive that will help me read my Bible every day.” On the other side of things though, it feels less than right to be seeking incentives for myself to maintain spiritual disciplines. Shouldn’t time with Jesus be enough? I get to be with him forever in Heaven and he saved me from death, isn’t that enough? An outsider would probably say, “obviously not since you’re still not reading your Bible ever day.” Maybe that’s just my brokeness and my need for God to change my heart. I’m conflicted on this. Any thoughts?