You Get What You Pay For


That isn’t a very original thing to say. Everybody has heard it at some point. I didn’t coin the phrase, but I sure believe it to be true. Now that I am looking at buying cars for teenage drivers, new instruments for teenage bandies, and college tuition for soon to be young adults pushed out of the nest, I am realizing that I have choices to make about where and how I spend this money.

Over and over again in life I have gotten what I paid for. At times I have bought something inexpensive hoping to get by or make due. Other times I have broken the bank and splurged for the top of the line and the best in the market. In every purchase or investment I have gotten exactly what I paid for. Sometimes I have been very, very happy with a purchase (new Taylor Made irons) and sometimes devastated by going cheap (upper deck tickets at Minute Maid on opening day 2008.)

The consumer in us has us immediately thinking products or experiences. Getting what we pay for makes us think of blue jeans, boots, cars, haircuts or television sets. It makes us think of vacations to Vegas or cheap hotels at the beach. It reminds us of good food we eat on our anniversary and average food with jacked up prices at the ball park (maybe not an example of getting what you pay for.) What we wear, what we eat, and where we go is directly related to what we have paid for that product or reality.

This saying though applies to many other areas of life if we under “pay for” something in terms other than monetary exchange. Sometimes our payment comes in the form of time or talent. Sometimes it comes in the level of engagement or enthusiasm we have for something or someone. Sometimes we pay by being present and being ready to participate. Our cost in those cases are not measure by a reduction of our bank account, but in the addition or heart, mind, and soul into a scenario.

Think about these “you get what you pay for” realities.

As parents we get what we pay for when we put extra time into the development of our kids character and not just their skill development or athletic progress. Our children understand the value of character better because we have given time and space to the topic with them rather than assuming others will care for that need.

As leaders we get what we pay for when we bring energy to our team and not just work flow charts or new objectives for success. Our team senses that we believe in what we are asking them to do because we are personally involved as we give ourselves all in to the assignment.

As pastors we get what we pay for when we avoid settling conflict in the church, keep doing the same old things all of the time because its easy, and/or refuse to consider how culture is shaping our people more than the gospel is. Our church senses a lack of care and concern for the health of the church and an overall indifference to how lives are being changed.

As friends we get what we pay for when we expect to be the center of attention with every friendship and have the final word on every topic tossed around in conversation. Our friends see us as self absorbed and therefore not trustworthy or approachable with their needs which keeps relationships on the surface and usually on very shakeable grounds.

As married couples we get what we pay for when we make time for each other, listen to what is on each others heart, pray over the big (and small) things in life, and consider our spouses feelings above our own. Our spouse will know they can rely us to be safe, supportive, and so concerned with the relationship that other details of life are always second place.

Of course when we pay very little as parents, as leaders, as pastors, as friends we end up getting exactly what we paid for it. Usually nothing, but rejection, disappointments, failure, discouragement, and/or loneliness. Conversely, by paying big for those things we find that our relationships are healthy, balanced, and usually exactly what we need (or even more.)

How can you get more (or get a better product) by paying more today? Now that is really a pay it forward idea worth pursuing. Don’t delay and don’t keep being cheap. Put your best- your everything – into it. You will be glad you did. You will likely end up getting exactly what you paid for and more.


Tell me to what you pay attention and I will tell you who you are.                                                 (Jose Ortega y Gasset)

Women Should Know Their Place

Today is International Women’s Day or so the internet says. I have seen and read many of my friends writing heartfelt thanks and memories to the women in their life. Others have written about women they never knew, but made a difference. Everyone has such a list of women that were directly involved in their success as well as many other women across time and space that have made their/our world an easier place to live. Only the most foolish will deny the impact of women in our world, but alas, the world is full of fools.

Many will remember on this day that a woman played a key role in their success. They might even say something nice, send a card, buy flowers, or offer a hug of thanks. The one who remembers will feel good about their memory and feel enlightened for highlighting the value of that woman in their life. And then tomorrow they will likely return to another 364 days of ignoring, taking for granted, and sometimes reducing women to a position that is less significant than our memory reminds us of and our heart tells us is true. Most of us have real short, pathetic memories.

Women should know their place in this world. I want that for my wife, my daughter, my mother, my sisters ( Amanda and Renee), and the many women that I have worked with over 20 years. I am at least somewhat successful because of how many women have given the best parts of their days to help me along. Most did so because it was their place in life as mother, wife, employee, or friend. They have the scars to show for being in their place in my life. Thank you God for sending them into my life to be in their “place.”

When a women knows her place then her ceiling is unlimited and her future unstoppable. Women that know their place have made bigger steps of faith and courage than millions of men who lead without knowing anything about place, power, or proper rhetoric. I know what you are thinking – “And just where is a woman’s place?”

Well, history reminds us that many, many women knew their place. Let me remind you of a few that come quickly to my mind.

Rosa knew her place…on the front of that bus. Eleanor knew her place…leading and championing civil rights and poverty causes in a broken America. Sally Ride knew her place…right inside the space capsule. Hilary knew her place…offering herself as the most qualified candidate for President in the history of the USA. Oprah knows her place…as the first African-American billionaire and most successful television personality ever. And Jamie knows her place…as a great teacher to specially made children, a gifted musician and leader of praise, a brilliant storehouse of knowledge of many things, a faithful friend to everybody she meets, and most importantly to me,… the love of my life.  But I digress.

So many women don’t know their place and that is a shame. Maybe they don’t think they have a place of standing, leadership, or relevance in this world. That is not true. So let me attempt to build a framework for them so that the next Rosa, Sally, and Jamie can get ready for the road that is ahead of them.

Women of all ages, all colors, all backgrounds, all upbringings,…your place is in the home, the classroom, the steel mill, the pulpit, the oval office, the space shuttle, the race car, the board room, the news desk, the locker room, the barn yard, the operating room, the fire station, the coffee shop, the war room, the play ground, the drafting table, the lectern, the kitchen, the subway, the Broadway stage, the finish line, and about anywhere else you want to be.

So go to your place and thrive, hustle, challenge, and lead away. Many people will follow you. Trust me they will. Only fools will discount your abilities and rights to be there. They will be the minority, but they likely will not be silent. Don’t listen to them. Keep going. Only the real foolish will objectify you and disgrace themselves (and their families/nation) in doing so. Don’t lose heart over them. Pray for God to have mercy on them. You are vital to the flourishing of society on every level. Don’t forget it and don’t ever think otherwise. Every generation is watching you and waiting for your example of faith, hope, and love to stir the  waters of the world.

Happy International Women’s Day/ Year / Decade / Century/ Millennium! Your place is right here.