Nothing is free – everything costs, says Billie Burke (1913)

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Nothing is free; everything costs!

Sermon by Billie Burke

I’m going to preach a sermon from a text that most of us are always forgetting. The text you will find in your own consciousness if you ever stop to think about the philosophy of right living. It is: “You can’t have anything in this world without paying for it.”

You will probably say that “the sunshine is free.”

Is it?

How about the men that work in the mines and the girls that are employed daily in the crowded sweatshops, men and women who never see the sun from one year to another?

“Surely the fresh air of heaven is free,” you affirm.

Let us see.

Roughly speaking, one hundred and eighty thousand people die in the United States every year because, for different reasons, they don’t have fresh air.

For love you must pay most of all; pay in sympathy, in interest, in tenderness, in self-sacrifice and constant thoughtfulness.

For health you must be every paying a continuous tax. You must curb your desires for most luxuries if you would have health. The Spartans were the finest men physically the world has ever known, but they paid for this fame by giving up all the luxury which made life worth living to the Romans.

Nothing is free in this world. Some one pays for the water we drink, even if they only give the labor that draws the bucket from the well.

For the little sins we commit and the temptations to which we succumb, we must pay a thousand times. Remorse stalks always beside us holding out his hand.

No one since the world began has evaded this law of compensation. One must pay, pay, pay, and when we learn that by no circumstance or stretch of money can one get something – anything – and not give something in return there will be much less sin and sorrow in the world.

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