I found the following story in the book COLOR YOUR FUTURE by Taylor Hartman, Phd. (I highly recommend this book.)
A great king called all his wise men throughout the kingdom and requested that they determine the most important truth he should live by in life. The wise men studied and debated for days before coming to agreement on the following advice.
"Your honor," they said, after much research, "we must tell you that the greatest truth you should live by comes in a simple phrase."
"Well, what is it?" he impatiently demanded.
"There is no free lunch," they said.
At first the king was greatly displeased. He thought they were making a mockery of his request. With time, however, he discovered, the power in these few words of wisdom.
When I started reading the story, I smugly assumed that I could guess what the wise men would advise the king. They would, I knew, tell him that love is the greatest principle. I was wrong.
Love IS a great principle, but it was not the counsel these learned men gave: "There is no free lunch."
We live in a society where "a free lunch" is expected, indeed, demanded by many people. When that free lunch fails to materialize, they become resentful, angry, even bitter. "But we've always been given a free lunch in the past," they protest. They don't know how to survive without a free lunch.
You may know some of these people. They are the ones who give a half day's work for a full day's pay. They are the ones who demand others serve them when they offer no service of their own. They are the ones who "borrow" money with no intention of paying it back. They are the ones who berate and belittle others while expecting respect from those whom they humiliate.
Fortunately, there are others, the people who give a full day's work, who give service without thought of being served, who repay any borrowed money, who build up rather than tear down.
So, for today, I am grateful for those people who shun "a free lunch."