What’s in a name, anyway?

Dr. James L. Snyder Guest Columnist

November 3, 2013

I cannot express how ecstatic I was when someone gave me a coupon for a free donut. Normally, I am not overly excited about “free.”

I will go to my grave believing when a donut is free it means it is free of calories. Call it what you will but free by any other name is still free in my personal dictionary.

I got at the donut shop, walked in and the smell was overpowering. Nothing like the smell of donuts baking in the oven with a hint of coffee brewing in the background. I just stood there for a few moments absorbing the luxury of this marvelous atmosphere. It is not often I can enjoy such luxuries, especially if my wife knows where I am.

When I became adjusted to the ambience, I walked up to the counter and presented my coupon for a free donut. It was at that moment I saw them.

There they were, freshly baked Apple Fritters. I was stunned. It just never crossed my mind that a donut shop would have this kind of delicious tidbit. But there they were. Freshly baked and staring at me with alluring eyes of desire.

There they were staring at me and I staring back and immediately there was a connection.

Standing in line, I could barely wait for my turn to order. I presented my coupon for a free donut and the young woman behind the counter said, “Which donut can I get for you, sir?”

I savored the moment, licked my drying lips and said, “I’ll have an Apple Fritter.” With that said, I sighed a deep sigh of true contentment.

“I’m sorry, sir,” the young woman said.

“There is no need to be sorry, young lady,” I said as cheerfully as I possibly could.

“No, sir, I’m sorry but an Apple Fritter is not a donut.”

I can take a joke as well as anybody else. In fact, I have put forth my share of jokes. However, an Apple Fritter is no joking matter.

“Excuse me,” I said almost breathlessly.

“An Apple Fritter is not a donut, so what donut would you like me to get for you?”

The thought began unfolding in my mind that she was not joking. She sincerely believed an Apple Fritter was not a donut. I know an Apple Fritter is among the Cadillac of donuts but in my mind, it is still a donut.

I did not have much opportunity to set this young woman straight with one of the great fundamentals of life. I had to take one of her “free” donuts along with my coffee, go to a corner and think about these things. What good is “free” if it is not really what you want?

Sometimes people use the word “free” as a device to get you to a place where they can sell you something else.

The Bible is the only place I will accept a “free” offer. One particular verse sets this forth quite nicely. “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32 KJV).

This is often used out of context. The truth that makes us free indeed is none other than the truth about Jesus Christ. He is the only One capable of delivering something absolutely free.

Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, PO Box 831313, Ocala, FL 34483. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 1-866-552-2543 or e-mail His web site is