18 A wicked person earns deceptive wages,
but the one who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward.
19 Truly the righteous attain life,
but whoever pursues evil finds death.
Wickedness may get results, but they are never as satisfying as temptation promises. There is always more to be done; another lie, another swindle, another victimization. There may be plunder, but there is also suspicion. There may be power, but it is without peace. Anything gained by wickedness is not worth having, it will cost you far more than it is worth.
Righteousness, by contrast, is likened to cultivation. The seeds of integrity and faithfulness may not cost much to sow, but over time they grow into something exceedingly valuable. There is no substitute for noble character, the benefits of which are endless; it is like a well cultivated tree “which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not whither.” Consider what you expose yourself to, the beliefs your life is rooted in and the means by which you quench your deepest thirst. It is these things that determine quality of character, and ultimately quality of life.