I coach a girls basketball team, and to motivate the kids during practice I do something called “Sprints vs. Rewards”. During drills, they can earn “sprints” for not hustling, not following directions, or things not being done correctly, after we have already gone over the proper execution. But on the flip side, they can earn “rewards” for doing things exceptionally well, or showing great hustle or improvement. Since I am the coach, I get to decide what gets deemed as a “sprint” or a “reward”, and we use a tally chart to keep track. Then comes the time when we count the tallies on each side, and the player’s pray that they have earned more “rewards” that practice than “sprints”. If this is the case it means no running, or sprinting I should say. But if the “sprint” side has more tallies, they have to run the difference. It’s a simple theory that the good must outweigh the bad, and the tally chart is always there to remind them.
I would love for the players to come to practice and give 100% effort, listen and accomplish everything I tell them, just because they realize that what I am teaching them is for their own good. I want to win games and have them become better players; they want that too. But there are times when knowing what is best for us just isn’t enough to motivate us to do the right things. My “Sprints vs. Rewards” exercise demonstrates another motivational factor at work….fear.
“God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.” (Exodus 20:20)
I can’t really find too much fault with my team, as I have been guilty of the same syndrome. I know that God wants the best for me and that His guidelines are so that I can lead a blessed life. I know that I should be obedient because I love and respect God, but honestly sometimes I am obedient because I fear what will happen if I am not. An example was shown in Exodus 20:20 after God gave out the 10 Commandments and displayed thunder, lightning, smoke and trumpet noise. This demonstration scared the people, but God did it to show His power and to instill a healthy fear in them so that they would keep his commandments and not sin.
God doesn’t want us to fear Him in a negative sense, but I think He knew there would be times when reverence would be needed to keep us on the right path. My players are not afraid of me, but they do fear what that tally board represents if they don’t perform well. We are lucky in the sense that God keeps no tallies- He keeps no record of wrongs. We don’t have to perform for Him, and once we ask for forgiveness, our wrongs are forever erased. When you are on God’s team there are “no sprints required”.