Another article for our local paper, The Border Watch.
I’m working on tone and form in these pieces.
The ending is still looser than I want, but sooner or later you have to finish it and send them in.
It’s been a while since I’ve done this sort of writing on a regular basis.
Next week I’ve been thinking about lessons based on a building that has a fifty meter laneway of prime inner city land just so it can have a better address.
There Is Such A Thing As A Free Lunch
The old saying goes ‘There’s no such thing as a free lunch’.
An unnamed man bought a fully refundable first-class ticket with Eastern China Airlines that came with access to a VIP lounge at Xi’an International Airport, where flyers can enjoy a free meal. For over 300 days the man went to the airport lounge, ate his fill, and rescheduled his flight for the next day when he would return and repeat the process again. When staff noticed what was happening the man simply surrendered the ticket and received a full refund of his purchase price.
So, for that one man, there was such a thing as a free lunch.
As Jesus spent forty days in the wilderness he was tempted to create his own meal, turning stones into bread. He was hungry, he had the power, and yet he refused, memorably quoting from the Old Testament ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’
He refused because he recognised that it would have been anything but a free meal. Turning stones into bread would have been very costly to him indeed.
It had been the Spirit of God who had led him into the wilderness, and Jesus trusted God to provide for his physical needs. Generations before, the people of God had been in the wilderness and they had not shown faith in God for their food. Jesus was faithful where the people had failed.
There are times where gratification of our desires overcomes care for our spiritual wellbeing. We sacrifice or endanger relationships, reputations and long-term security for short-term satisfaction. A short season of getting what you think you want can leave you with long seasons without what you really need.
Jesus expressed trust in God; while Christians confess that our trust fails us on a fairly constant basis. We depend on the trust that Jesus showed in God, not our own trust.
People go through their lives looking for their own version of the proverbial ‘free lunch’. The ‘no strings attached’ means of attaining satisfaction for their desires. We’d like to think that something like that existed. Nothing in creation fills the bill. Whatever we find is never completely free.
That’s why Christians look to Jesus. As the faithful one who completely trusted God, he’s the basis by which we’re made part of God’s family. He’s the Christian’s ‘free lunch’. There are no strings attached and anyone can experience the provision of God through him.