Something for nothing?

by Jonathan

Something for nothing?

Several years ago, I had to make an urgent flight across the country. One major problem was that the only airport with those kinds of connections was a good ways away, and probably not the place where you wanted to leave a vehicle for any length of time.

There was a shuttle service, though, and probably for just the cost of fuel and parking alone, you could get a ride from the northern terminal all the way to the airport itself. I contacted the company and made a reservation.
So far, so good, and nothing out of the ordinary. At least, it was that way as far as my trip was going, until this event happened. I still can’t believe it took place!

Shortly before the van was due to leave for the airport, here came a man, possibly with an “associate”, and his alleged son. I don’t recall the ages of any of these folks. But what they said has stayed with me for many years.

The “leader” approached the driver and asked if there were any empty seats. The driver said, yes, there were a few empty seats, and the fare was so much for the trip.

That wasn’t enough for this guy.

He asked, so, if you have any empty seats, why can’t we travel along and not pay? After all, he said, you have to make the trip anyway, and you have empty seats, so why can’t we ride for free?

I’m not making this up. This “exchange” took place for an additional time or two, with the driver adamantly refusing to let the group ride for free and the group spokesman angling for a free ride—something for nothing. The driver shook her head, asked me if I was ready, and I said, “Yes, I am.” We got on the van—without that group!—and made it to the airport with no other problems or situations that day.

This reminds me of an application in Scripture. For example, take a look at the crowds that followed Jesus during His earthly ministry. In all four Gospels, for example, He fed 5000 men using only five loaves (kind of like pitas, gyros, or thick tortillas) and a couple of little fish.

The response? They followed Jesus, all right, but for the wrong reason. They wanted free food, not the demands of discipleship. Even Jesus Himself told them, “You’re seeking Me because you had plenty to eat. Stop working for food which perishes but rather work for what I, the Son of man, will give you (John 6:25-27, paraphrased)”.

May we, too, be delivered from wanting something for nothing.

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