You’ve heard the expression, “The devil is in the details.”  The gist of this expression is the idea that some things sound very good on the surface, but when you get into the details, there’s a catch.  Life is full of such things.  We’ve all gotten the junk mail that promises, “You may have already won.”  Of course, your winning of this great prize requires you to buy something or to take a risk that could turn out ugly.  One scam that probably everyone has seen is the e-mail purporting to be from someone that expects to inherit or receive somehow a great amount of money.  They are willing to share with you this money if you will just help them this one time by sending a sum of money.  Supposedly the sum of money that you send will help with lawyer’s fees or some legal processing fee, etc.  But they are simply playing on people’s greed or the desire to get something for nothing.  You don’t have to live very long to find out that few things in life are free, and that the really valuable things of life usually come with a price.

It doesn’t matter whether you are talking about relationships or a professional achievement.  The things that are most valuable in life require a price to be paid.  Many simple children’s stories communicate profound truths.  One of my favorite stories that I read when I was a child and which I have read to my children as well is “The Little Red Hen.”  I expect most people will recognize the story line of the hen who finds wheat seeds, sows them, then reaps the wheat, grinds the wheat, and bakes the bread.  At each step along the way, she asks for help in her task, but no one is willing to put out any effort to help her.  The only time that they seem to want to help is when the bread is done.  That is when all are willing to help enjoy the fruits of the hen’s labor, but she does not allow them to take part in enjoying the bread since they would not participate in any of the work leading up to this point.  This is a lesson that rings so true in life.  Few are willing to put out the effort required to gain the most valuable things in life, yet they still want to enjoy those things without putting out any effort.

This is probably why lotteries are so popular.  There’s never any end to people willing to play the lottery, hoping to strike it rich without much effort.   But such people who strike it rich often are not happy when they do get these easy riches.  I’ve watched a few programs that follow big lottery winners, and they are rarely happy.  I guess part of why they are not happy is that they truly believe that money can buy you happiness.  But true happiness cannot come so simply.  It must be bought at great price by putting much effort into things that truly matter, such as a sound marriage, good relationships with your children, wisdom, professional success, etc.  All the best things come with a price of toil, sweat, tears, and perhaps blood.  But certainly, once we have reached the fruit of our labors, we will be satisfied both with what we have attained and with our effort in getting there.  True, deep satisfaction comes when we reach a place of reaping in our life, and we can look ourselves in the mirror, knowing that we did our best and paid a significant price to reach these rewards. 

I pray that you will be able to reap the best things in life and that you will have the courage and wisdom to labor patiently for these things. 



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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 


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