Back in 2007, New York started this Family Focused Pilot Program. It was a program that was supposed to help underprivileged people get a leg up by paying them for certain things. One of the things they paid them for was education. People were paid $25-$50 a month for their child being in school 95% of the time, $50 for going to a parent-teacher conference, and they received $50 for obtaining a library card.
I was flowing with the program until the library card. The library card had me puzzled. A library card doesn’t ensure you’re a reader. I know the government is trying to get people to read but there has to be a more effective way.
I began to think about things in church. Just because I have a bible, doesn’t mean I know what’s in it. Just because I call myself a Christian, or a follower of Christ doesn’t mean I am one.
What makes a person a reader? The fact that they read books.
What makes a parent concerned about their child’s education? Does money cause interest in making sure their child is getting an education? Money may cause a parent to go to the school to meet with the teacher when they are called, and perhaps through dialogue things could change. The incentive is followed by a way to track success.
What makes someone a Christian? The bible says you’ll know them by their fruit. This is a way to track success. I know people who say they follow Christ and have the church talk down pat but their fruit doesn’t show a relationship with God. A relationship with God causes things to change in your life. So that couple that beat each other and sing Hallelujah on Sunday do they know God intimately? The married woman who is flirting with the man at work and is on the brink of an affair does she really know God intimately? The person who would pass a person by on the street who doesn’t have warm clothes on when it’s freezing out, do they understand God’s love for His children? The guy who is sleeping with his girlfriend and shaking her father’s hand as if he’s honorable, doesn’t understand why God doesn’t get it.What makes us a follower of Christ? The fact that we actually do our best to walk it out.
The reward isn’t earthly like the program in New York but the payoff is a life transformed and that is the point of the program.