Don’t Practice, There’s No Reward: A Lesson from My Son

This morning my son was writing an essay.  He seemed confused about some of the proofreading marks I used as we edited his rough draft.  Worry crept in…his fifth writing assignment…he should have the hang of this.  Why doesn’t he know this?

After talking him through the essay and asking some questions, I uncovered the issue:  He’d only done one of the five previous assignments.  I asked what any momma would ask, Why didn’t you do the other four assignments?

His answer?  They weren’t graded. What’s the point in doing the stuff that’s not graded?  I don’t see any sense in it.

My response?

Why do you go to soccer practice, Owen?  There’s no wins or losses. You don’t get a trophy.   You get nothing from it.  Just show up for the games when it counts. (Of course, I don’t believe this, but I knew soccer would get his attention.  It did.)

Owen explained to me how important practice is.  You can’t win or get a trophy without practicing, Mom.  You can’t just show up for the game.  If you’ve not practiced, you don’t know the plays, you aren’t in shape, and on.

I reminded him…the other four assignments were practice for the fifth GRADED assignment, Owen.  Your teacher wasn’t holding you accountable for the practice, so she chose not to grade them. The ungraded assignments were “practice.”  But, now she’s holding you accountable for what you’ve learned.  This essay is “the game.”  The “trophy” is what you’ve learned and the grade.

As Owen and I talked, I realized this same idea applies to my walk with Jesus in more ways than I can share.  If I don’t intentionally seek Him every day, I begin to feel like “I don’t know the plays” or “I’m out of shape.”  I feel as if I am not hearing Him clearly.  I feel He’s distant.

When trials come – and God’s Word promises they will (John 16:33)– I find myself wandering around, looking for Him…frustrated he’s not “answering.”  Frustrated that I am not hearing Him. Frustrated he “let” this happen.

It’s often during trials that I realize I’ve not been seeking him, intentionally, daily.  I have only desperately begun seeking him because life got tough.  And while that’s wonderful, necessary, and normal – to seek Him in the suffering – I know if I seek him daily then He will write his word on my heart for all times.

And having His word written on my heart is priceless.  He brings it to mind just when I need it, so I cling to it.   Knowing his word also guards my heart against sin, and draws me closer to Him and His will.

I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.  Psalm 119:11

Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. Hebrews 2:1

Our relationship with Christ is much like other relationships.  The more effort and time we put in to knowing another person, the closer we become to her. The more effort and time we put in to seeking Christ, the closer we become to Him.  And, it’s a delight!  To know His word, know Him, and see Him at work in his word and in our lives is awe-inspiring.

As my new year of HOPE begins, I have committed to reading God’s Word daily and memorizing Scripture.  Or, as Owen would say, “practicing and learning” so when the big assignment comes, I am ready 🙂  In the meantime, delighting in the Lord and His faithfulness by reading and memorizing his word is a blessing that is drawing me closer and closer to Him.

If you’re not sure where to begin studying God’s word, there are several places to seek help.  YouVersion is a website and mobile phone app that allows you to choose Bible reading plans (short and long) and read multiple translations of the Bible. There are also many great devotionals.

If you’d like to begin memorizing Scripture, resources abound!  I am participating in the Siesta Scripture Memory Team through Beth Moore’s Living Proof Ministries, which holds me accountable. Scripture Typer helps me to memorize the verses.  (There’s an app for that too!)

If you need further direction in studying and memorizing God’s word, please email or comment. I’d be honored to help you!


  1. Oh, Sarah, you speak my language!! I’ve often wondered why I thought my relationship with Him would miraculously deepen when I was putting so little into it. When compared to other relationships, I found I was investing much more into them than I was into the one with my Heavenly Father. I’m so thankful He is long-suffering and I’m still teachable.

    Great post, my friend!

  2. Thank you Sarah..I am always encouraged my your insight..thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply