“TANSTAAFL,” the text read.
That crazy duck quack my husband has on his phone announcing incoming texts sometimes drives me crazy. At almost 1:00 a.m., it’s enough for a heart attack.
“What is it?” I ask, a breathless panic sounded in my voice.
The phone is already in his hand. He is sitting on the edge of the bed, his face illumined by phone-glow. I see he’s engrossed at what’s on the screen.
When he doesn’t answer, I roll over and reach for my phone. One glance tells me the text from our daughter wide awake overseas shows a spell-corrected or misspelled illegible word. I deem the unclear word non-life-threatening, and something that can wait till morning.
I double check the silence setting, put to sleep the light and settle in again.
He stays where he is, because he’s been given a puzzle piece which obviously must be put into its place immediately. Even at 1:00 am.
As the welcome blanket of sleep cocoons my body again, the problem solver with whom I’ve pledged myself awake or asleep, says with Eureka volume into the dark, “There Ain’t No Such Thing as a Free Lunch!”
TANSTAAFL. Text speak for “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” It was an appropriate response for a text thread that dropped off when our daughter went to bed and picked up again after we went to bed when she woke up on the other side of the world.
TANSTAAFL mystery solved, my husband was soon snorkeling deeply again in the murky depths of sleep while I lay with my eyes wide, thinking about society, politics and the world stage. Those thoughts brought contemplation of what is truly free.
God’s grace is distinctly opposite to the TANSTAAFL way of the world. His kingdom runs counterculture. There are no round about hidden fees. Jesus paid it all. He purchased my salvation, without favor or merit. Unequivocal and free.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,” Ephesians 2:8 NKJV
To the Greeks, charis referred to a kind act done to another friend without expectation of reciprocation. God, in His grace, offered the forgiveness of sin as a gift although we were still enemies of the cross, lost in sin, and incapable of repayment.
Salvation through Jesus Christ has no strings attached. This is grace, sin’s penalty payed while we were still in our sins.
“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” Romans 5:10 ESV
“‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’”When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. ‘He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.’ For ‘you were like sheep going astray,’ but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” 1 Peter 2:22-25 NIV
Blinking into the dark, with my husband sleeping next to me I conclude, I like the acronym TANSTAAFL. It has reminded me of the best things in life. Little arms wrapped around my knees, children who love Jesus, friends that make me laugh, and the delight of sunshine on my face.
What free things are you thankful for today?
I’m glad our children keep us younger by introducing us to text language, even if it is the middle of the night.
It’s easy to get caught up in the affairs of this life, to forget there is a complete contrast in the spiritual realm. It is good to be reminded of the supply of “free” God brings to each day.
These open-eyed thoughts brought joy and renewed a thankful heart for Jesus’ free gift of salvation. TANSTAAFL in the world, but how much more glorious, JPIA for eternity.
JPIA. Jesus Paid It All.