If someone would like to contribute, he will find a way to do so. But don't expect to get the award, before you have something done at all.
The only reward with projects such as these is the self-satisfaction of having contributed something, and the experience that one gains. Anyone who is striving for any other form of reward, whether it is money, respect from the devs and community, etc, is in it for the wrong reasons – plain and simple.
From what I've read no one here is asking for a free reward
. The gist of the problem raised by other people is that the initial time investment required (lets call it the "down payment") to make meaningful contributions to this project for a newcomer is too high (compared to other projects). This, they say, is turning away people from the project who's time could otherwise be harnessed.
The devs, on the other hand, appear to disagree; they think the down payment is reasonable, and though they are stretched thin, they are prepared to continue without the help of the less skilled who are unwilling to pay the down payment.
Tim and others are suggesting that the project could be reorganized slightly to make it easier for newcomers to contribute, to decrease the down payment, and to ultimately make the devs' lives easier (wouldn’t that be a good thing, if people started coming out of the woodwork to contribute because it was so easy and fun to do so?) But Tim needs the devs to be on board with the idea for it to have any chance of succeeding at reorganizing things. It’s not that Tim doesn’t want to contribute at all; it’s that he doesn’t want to waste his time trying to do something that the devs have indicated they are opposed to.