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Flying First Class

18 November 2010

“… you were bought at a price …” 1 Corinthians 6:20


We had no sooner settled into our plush leather seats than the smartly dressed flight attendant glided through the cabin, greeting us pleasantly and taking our beverage orders. Aaaah, the pleasures of flying first class. 

The minute the plane hit its cruising altitude, we heard the click of the flight attendant’s seatbelt as she jumped up to distribute warm moist towels, followed by warm mixed nuts in white porcelain ramekins.   

Before coach class passengers had even ordered their drinks, the flight attendant gently laid down a dark blue place mat as a “tablecloth” in front of each of us and covered it with real silverware, a real plate, a real bowl, and a cloth napkin. We were served an appetizing (well, as airplane food goes!) hot meal of our choice – chicken teriyaki or cheese tortellini.

The longer I sat there, the more my sense of entitlement grew. And the more I realized how difficult it would be ever to return to the coach cabin. “This is the treatment you deserve,” said a voice in my head. “You have earned this.”

But I hadn’t at all. I was merely an interloper.

I glanced around the cabin. Some of the first class passengers, like the business man sitting behind me who complained loudly about everything, may have paid full price for their fares. Others, like the young marine next to me, were in first class by merit of their station. Others – and that included me – were there because of someone else. In my case, it was because my uncle works for the airline company training pilots. I got to fly first class not because of anything I did or who I was but because of him.

Somehow that got me thinking about heaven. Heaven won’t contain people who have paid full price for their admission; neither will heaven be populated by people who have earned their way there. The only people in heaven will be the ones who are there by grace, because a Relative of theirs paid the ultimate price. His “job” as Son of God and Redeemer of the World earned them the privilege of “flying first class.”

Lord, in humility we give you thanks for your many blessings. Open our eyes to the good things around us that you have provided. Help us to give to others as generously as you have given to us. Give us the wisdom to enjoy the fruit of your kindness … and to let go of any spirit of pride and entitlement.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9.

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One Comments to “Flying First Class”

  1. Great story!

    A girl at the Bible school here in Germany recently told me of being on a missions trip in Costa Rica and getting pulled over by the police on the way to a weekend beach outing. She and the others in her group didn’t have their passports with them, and the policeman was giving them a hard time about it. But when they mentioned that they were with Diego, a local Christian who had a good reputation in the area because of his humanitarian work, the policeman’s countenance and attitude immediately changed – “Oh, you’re Diego’s friends? Well, we’ll let you go this time.”

    They weren’t able to get through because of their own merit, but because of the relationship with someone who had already paved the way for them. And that’s what Jesus has done for us! 🙂

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