“One of my neighbors travels quite a bit with his work,” Stan commented one morning while we waited for breakfast. “Just about every week he’s flying somewhere.”
“That can be tough,” I commented. “How’s he like it?”
“Seems to like it just fine,” Stan replied. “Gets tired, but he says it’s part of the job.”
“Interestingly,” he continued, “last weekend we had dinner together and he was telling us about a spiritual experience he had on the flight home the other day.”
“A spiritual experience?” I said. “What happened?”
“As he told the story,” Stan replied, “he was on an airplane that was getting ready to take off to bring him home and one of the flight attendants presented a Biblical truth while she was doing the pre-flight routine.”
“Biblical truth by a flight attendant on an airplane?” I replied. “You kidding?”
“Well,” Stan said, “I guess she didn’t actually quote Scripture, and didn’t specifically mention the apostle Paul, but what she said clearly struck my neighbor as being right out of the Bible.”
“Okay, Stan,” I responded, “you’ve made me curious. What happened?”
“You know,” he said, “how in the pre-flight preparation a flight attendant tells you what to do in the event the cabin loses air pressure and the oxygen mask comes down.”
“Kind of,” I replied.
“You should know for certain,” Stan said, “but in essence the instruction is for a person to put the mask on first, and then help those nearby who need help with their masks.”
“From what my neighbor said,” Stan replied, “and I agree with him, that’s what the apostle Paul was talking about at one point in his letter to the church in Philippi.”
“Airplanes and oxygen masks?” I said. “I don’t think so.”
“Not airplanes and oxygen masks, of course,” Stan responded, “but Paul clearly instructs us that we are not to not merely look out for ourselves, but we are to look for ways to help others.”
“To me,” he continued, “this means that just because I have my ticket to glory and I’m in the process of growing closer to God on this side of eternity, that’s not the end of the story. I am to help others in getting their tickets and in learning what the ticket means for their lives here before they step onto the train. I am to do whatever it is God has for me to do to help others.”
“So,” I said, “it’s like God has given you the ‘oxygen mask’ of salvation that you are to put on and work out to help others in whatever way He wants. Is that it?”
“Bingo and Amen!” Stan replied with a smile.
Bible verses to consider:
Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:9.
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13.
Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your free and gracious provision of life eternally with you through Christ’s finished work on the cross when my time here is completed. Thank you, too, for the opportunity to grow ever closer to you in a deepening relationship before then. I confess that it is too easy for me to think that I have my ticket to your eternal presence and that’s the end of the story, when you want me to work out the salvation you worked in by helping others to be a part of your kingdom. Please, Father, help me in following every step of your lead so I do, in fact, look beyond myself to the needs of others, whatever that may entail. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Do you have your ticket to glory and know you will spend eternity in God’s presence when it’s time? If no, why? What’s in the way of accepting His provision? If you do have the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with helping others get their tickets and grow before they step into eternity? How are you doing with helping others in whatever way they might need? If you sense the need for change in your view of helping others, whatever that help may look like, how is that change going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?