Working for the Reward


Do What You’re Told


Colorful Reward Stickers or Gold Foil Stars


"What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work today in the vineyard.'" "'I will not,' he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. "Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, 'I will, sir,' but he did not go. "Which of the two did what his father wanted?" "The first," they answered. Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him (Matthew 21:28-32, NIV)

Who knows what these are? Right…stickers. Do you know what kind of stickers? They’re reward stickers. What are they used for? We adults—moms and dads, teachers, grandparents—like to give them out when children do a job they’re told to do. Have you ever gotten one? Why?

Did your mom or dad ask you to do anything this morning? What did they ask? What did you say? And did you do what they asked?

Jesus told the chief priests and elders a story of two boys. Their father asked them to go to the vineyard (do you know what a vineyard is?) to work the vines. One son said "No way." The other said, "Sure, Dad." But do you know what happened? The one who said "sure" didn’t go. And the one who said "No way" changed his mind and worked with the grapes all day.

Which boy in Jesus’ story got the reward sticker?

When your parents ask you to do work around the house, what do you usually say?

  • What does it mean when you say, "In a minute"? Do you really plan on doing the chore? Or are you hoping your mom will forget she asked?
  • What if you say, "I don’t want to" —what does that mean? Aren’t you saying, "I don’t want to please you, I only want to do that pleases me"?
  • What if you say, "OK," but you don’t do it? What does that mean?

The chief priests and elders said the son who told his father "No" but eventually worked in the vineyard did what the father wanted. But did he? The work was done, but did the son give his father the answer he wanted to hear?

The son who said yes, but didn’t go gave the right answer. But he didn’t do the chore the father wanted him to do.

Do you think your mom and dad just want right answers? Or maybe they want you to give right answers and follow through on what you say you’ll do. Jesus taught on this too. He said, "Just say a simple ‘Yes, I will" or "No, I won’t." (Matt 5:37 NLT). Maybe that’s when you should get the reward sticker. Not when a job is finished, but when you say, "Yes, I’ll do that." And then you do it.