$Reward$ Your Teen: The Jesus Jar

What my teen wants on most days isn’t a hug or a snug. Nor does she want to hear mom spouting Bible verses, though I think she secretly likes it when I pray aloud for her as we’re nearing her school each morning.

What my teen wants on most days is GREEN and preferably stamped in each corner:


What I want for my teen every day is for her to take in a scripture before she slips on her earbuds. How to? I pondered.

One day a scripture popped into my head that rocked my mother-daughter world:

Hebrews 11-6

Ahhh . . . (light bulb moment). If God rewards those who seek Him, why can’t I apply that same system in our home, and both mother and daughter end up getting what we want—no fuss, no tangles. That day was born . . .

— The JESUS JAR! —

(Yes! Thank you, Lord!)

That afternoon when she arrived home from school and saw the big wide-mouthed jar packed with tightly folded dollar bills, each wrapped around its middle with a ribbon of narrow paper and paper-clipped, she asked, wide-eyed, “What’s THAT?!” Before I could answer, she asked hopefully, “Is all that money for ME?” dollar-wrapped-smaller

“Yes! It’s for you!” I responded with a smile, happy and eager to “gift” her with more than she could comprehend. She looked a little dubious and I explained. “Each morning you can take one from the jar. But in order to keep the dollar, you need to read the slip of paper out loud to me and tell me what you think it means.”  Simple.

She was sold on gaining an easy $75 over 75 days. That would mean an extra $7 per week she could pocket. What she didn’t know was how much she’d be taking into her that would last a lifetime. On each narrow slip of paper was typed a scripture that would either encourage her, inspire her, remind her, or challenge her thinking that day.

And so our morning “devotions” began—together—in the mix of making breakfast and brewing coffee. It was an easy win-win. I was casting my bread onto the water; and inside my heart I was doing the happy “rain dance” over God’s promise:


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