And You Get What You Earn
We learn early in life that there are certain laws of physics. One law is the law of gravity. Many lessons are learned, often the hard way, about gravity. All of life, whether we like it or not, has laws that cannot be violated without realizing harm. This includes the physical, financial, relational, and spiritual realms.
I want to talk briefly about each of these, but before I do, let me tell you about two places Cindie and I have stayed during our marriage. We have stayed at many different types of lodging over our nearly 44 years of marriage. This includes the hotel we stayed at on the first night of our honeymoon, a little motel in Canada during our honeymoon, various La Quinta properties, the Hyatt properties, Hampton Inn, and bed and breakfasts in Wisconsin, Illinois, Maine, and Rhode Island. We also stayed one night in a Grand Rapids Michigan Motel 6.
A Contrast of Quality
The night in the Motel 6 is seared into our memories. It was frightening. It included screams, gunshots, and the arrival of the Grand Rapid’s police department. If I suggest “Motel 6” as a place for our next night of rest, even in jest, Cindie looks at me as if I am a lunatic. She equates Motel 6 with a near-death experience and the fears associated with flying bullets. Motel 6 may “keep the lights on” but that doesn’t satisfy Cindie.
In contrast, we recently stayed at a bed and breakfast in Wausau, Wisconsin. The B&B was the Stewart Inn. Here is a link to the B&B: Stewart Inn
Choose the Stewart Inn over Motel 6
This is an understatement. There is no comparison. There are at least three things to like about the Stewart Inn and innkeeper Randy Bangs. The first is the property itself. The interior of the inn is magnificent. (https://stewartinn.com/photo-gallery/). Most will recognize the name “Frank Lloyd Wright.” A contemporary of Wright was George Maher. According to the Stewart website, “George W. Maher (1864-1926) was an architect who was an influential contributor to the Prairie School movement and to American Arts and Crafts design.” In other words, the interior of the inn is magnificent.
The second thing to like about the inn is the innkeeper. He is welcoming and seeks to please his guests. This was our second visit to the Stewart Inn, and both times Randy gave us his attention and good recommendations. His recommended restaurant for our Sunday dinner was a wonderful Asian restaurant within walking distance of the inn. The dinner was superb. The waiter knew Randy as a frequent customer, so Randy’s recommendation wasn’t just a casual “this might work” recommendation. Because we knew Randy’s recommendations were solid, Cindie had the dinner Randy recommended and she wasn’t disappointed. I had an amazing meal as well.
The third reason I can highly recommend the Stewart is the breakfast. To say the breakfast was “good” would be like saying Michelangelo’s David sculpture is “worth a quick look.” The breakfast was a three-course marvel. It was beautiful to behold and delicious beyond expectations. To say it was the best breakfast, bar none, of all breakfasts we have had in any hotel or B&B. (Bar none, if you are unfamiliar with the term, means “without exception.)
You Get What You Pay For
The price for a night at Motel 6 is very tempting. But you get what you pay for. The price of a night at the Stewart Inn may seem extravagant to some, but you get what you pay for.
Physical, financial, relational, and spiritual realms
In the physical realm, you reap what you sow. If you sow a good, healthy diet, get sufficient rest, avoid Covid-19, exercise and are careful when you climb ladders, you are likely to reap a healthy body. You get what you “pay for.” You earn “wages” from your efforts, as a general rule. I say that because as I get older, I realize my 69-year-old body cannot be maintained at the same level of strength and health I had as a young sailor at age 21.
In the financial realm, you reap what you sow. If you pile up debt, don’t manage your credit cards or loans well and make poor choices in your investments, you will reap the consequences. Of course, making good decisions is not a guarantee that all will be well, but the general rule still applies. I have met with many who make terrible decisions regarding their finances. They want easy fixes to big problems they created over many years. Often the damage can be repaired, but they will still reap what they sowed in lost time and opportunities.
In the relational realm, you reap what you sow. If you sow love, kindness, encouragement, and a servant’s heart, you can experience the best types of relationships. If you are self-centered and focused on what you want from the relationship, you will reap what you sow. It won’t be pretty.
The most important choice is spiritual.
While it makes sense to choose the Stewart Inn over Motel 6, and there are benefits in that choice, there is a greater and more lasting choice all must make.
In the spiritual realm you reap what you sow. Maybe it isn’t immediately apparent, but you should pause and think carefully about your life. You will earn what you deserve. Rather than using many words to describe this, let me share two passages from the New Testament. The first is one I memorized as a child in the Bible Baptist Church’s AWANA clubs in the 1960’s:
Romans 6:22-23 says, “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (ESV) Clearly, if this is God’s Word, and I believe it is, then the choice here is crystal clear. Choose life.
The second is a reminder that the principle of sowing and reaping is a law like gravity:
“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:7-9 (ESV)
You get to make choices today when it comes to your physical life, your financial life, your relational life, and your spiritual life. Don’t make choices that will miss out on the eternal aspect of the equation.