By Louis Smith
Today's Scripture: Proverbs 10:16
Central Thought: Both righteousness and unrighteousness pay their wages.
The famous Baptist preacher Robert G. Lee based his highly popular sermon, 'Pay-Day, Someday,” on the Old Testament story of Ahab, who unjustly seized Naboth's vineyard. 'The retributive providence of God is a reality as certainly as the laws of gravitation are a reality,” Lee warned. So true. God makes sure that sin pays its wages. And, as the old saying goes, you can take that to the bank.
Speaking of wages, I remember the first week on my first job. A clumsy teenager, I felt like a fish out of water in my new role as a stock boy at a local variety store. My manager seemed harsh, and I was continually nervous around him, afraid that I would never be able to please him. What happened the first time I unloaded freight from a truck didn't help matters either. I dropped two cases of Listerine mouthwash, spreading the pungent liquid all over a section of the sales floor! And that was just one of several blunders I made in the first few days of my new job.
I had obtained the job through my high school's Distributive Education program. At the end of that first week, my boss filed a progress report with my teacher. The teacher took me aside one day and delivered the awful news written in the report: I was clumsy and awkward! I wanted to die! But then came my first payday. As I held that first check in my hand, all the horrors of the first week dissipated from my thinking. I now had funds for a weekend excursion with my friends or the new record album I wanted to buy. The agony of work was worth the payment I received! I had labored, and my work paid its wages.
Proverbs 10:16 reminds us that both wickedness and righteousness pay their wages. What the lifestyle pays depends on the type of life being lived. Those who practice wickedness can only expect to gain sin and its penalty, while those who pursue righteousness can expect to reap life. It doesn't take a theologian to know which route pays the best! Live right, for it pays the best wage!
Devotional Prayer: Lord, keep me mindful of the income I will reap from the life I live.
Today's Bible Reading: Leviticus 16:29–18:30; Mark 7:24–8:10; Psalm 41:1–13; Proverbs 10:15–16