“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in this present age,” ~Titus 2:11-12
“You get what you pay for” is something we often hear or say when we are disappointed in something purchased inexpensively. Every now and again we find a real bargain, but when we fall for a sales pitch that promises the Golden Gate Bridge for the change in our pocket, we are in a sense trying to ‘get something for nothing.” Bottom line: things of value just don’t come cheap.
I’m not just talking about money. In our world, in our actions, we need to recognize that when we cut corners in our work, fudge on our taxes, act differently when no one is looking, gossip, neglect to pay our bills on time or take a longer break than we are supposed to, it’s like trying to ‘get something for nothing.’ We want to look like a good worker, an honest taxpayer, a conscientious citizen, a friend,–but we don’t want to pay the price. We want the real thing—integrity—but we don’t want to work for it.
It’s true that integrity takes time, effort, inconvenience, generosity, reliability, and more. But it is a thing of value. We have to work extra; it costs more, but it is to be cherished. When we have it we know that it is well worth the cost.
The good news is that it is never too late to develop this trait in our lives. We can attain it by simply doing the right thing. There are lots of examples of doing the right thing, and lots of ways to try to define it, but in the moment, we know what is right. If we don’t, we need to pay attention to what we are doing more closely and think about whether we would want the same treatment.
The more times we do the right thing, the easier it gets. As we grow in this area, we find that it feels good and right, we can be proud of our actions, and we find it easier to be patient and kind to others who are still trying to ‘get something for nothing.’