The Wages of Sin


This is a post on my behalf written by my husband, Ben, who felt inspired to share this recent experience with CM readers; please enjoy!


As I was driving home from work the other day, stuck behind a semi-truck (as is frequently the case when one works in an industrial area), a small black and yellow bumper stick caught my attention. It wasn’t flashy, annoyingly large, or even, to the horror of my wife, in comic sans font. It simply said “the wages of sin is death.”

Being shocked out of my late day drowsiness was not what I expected on my drive home. Most of the time my mind is wandering towards the next chore that may be awaiting me at home or getting ready for some meeting that evening. Rarely does a profound scripture verse weigh heavily on my soul, much less from a bumper sticker on the trailer of a semi.

I began to realize my mortal nature, and soon my head was swirling with how I cannot escape the concupiscent nature of man. A quick deep breath brought me back to reality (all of this occurring in less than a minute) as this truck made a slow, right hand turn out of the industrial park.

With this seared into my mind for the moment, I began to realize that we are all deserving of this wage. No matter how many beauty products, injections, surgeries, and “youth serums” after which we chase, there is the cold, hard fact of death.

But it’s not this half of the scripture verse that should shock us. While telling someone that “the wages of sin is death” could be a pretty hard truth when one is in a self-righteous mood, it’s what comes after those words that should shock us.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). We work only to die, but we receive a gift beyond measure? This should shock all of us to the core. We plod along in our daily routine only to become worm food, yet if we can shake the daily sleep from our eyes and work boldly for Christ, He can bestow the gift of eternal life? Madness, I tell you!

Yet it’s there in plain black in white: no mincing of words, no whitewashing, just honesty. It should be the same honesty with which we approach our daily life and routine: to place our loyalty to Christ in the context of black and white (in that we are either moving towards that eternal life or the grave). It’s no easy task, and we are faced with a myriad of challenges and different areas of our life calling for attention.

But if I can find a moment to read a bumper sticker on a semi, then you, too, can find a moment to encounter Christ. Be simple about it. Look up from your phone, and scan the people passing by for the one person who needs just a smile from a stranger. Show him or her the light of Christ in only a glimpse, and you may change his or her life forever. The only way you may know that you have changed a person’s life with that smile is if you make it to heaven, and you see him or her waiting there to thank you. The other option is grind out the same rut that you do every day, and eventually that rut will be as deep as the wage you deserve.

It’s the small, daily occurrences that most often grab our attention and wake us from the drowsiness of daily living, as Scripture also aptly explains. Every moment of every day, we have the choice between life or death, so let us choose life in the small and simple acts of charity and in the grander, more profound ways the Lord may be calling us to do, as well.

Copyright 2014, Jeannie Ewing


About Author

Jeannie Ewing believes the world ignores and rejects the value of the Cross. She writes about the hidden value of suffering and even discovering joy in the midst of grief. As a disability advocate, Jeannie shares her heart as a mom of two girls with special needs in Navigating Deep Waters and is the author of From Grief to Grace , A Sea Without A Shore , and Waiting with Purpose. Jeannie is a frequent guest on Catholic radio and contributes to several online and print Catholic magazines. She, her husband, and three daughters live in northern Indiana. For more information, please visit her website

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