Since most everything I do in the John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministry is out of town, I have to use the services of airlines quite frequently. Rather than complain about having to travel, I’ve decided to look at travel as something from which I could learn lessons. Here are three more lessons.
1. Timing is very important. Airlines function on a very specific time table. When they indicate that a plane will leave at 4:42 pm, I better be at the gate a little early and ready to board at the time indicated for boarding. One day a connecting plane was late and I missed a connection by 2 minutes. The planed didn’t wait for me or anyone else. I heard a lot of important people complain vehemently to the gate agents who had already closed the gate at the proper time. They adhere to their time schedule.
I have often wanted God to operate on my time schedule, but He has His own timing. I have learned it is best to follow His time table. I have noticed also that He does “close the gate” when His time table calls for that. His timing has never been wrong.
2. The right plane – it is very important to be sure that I am on the right plane. I usually check a couple of times when I am in one of the airports that has several departing gates in the same vicinity. As you know, these are usually the commuter flights. I always try to connect with someone who I know is getting on the same flight to be sure I make the correct flight.
Some time ago I had a long layover in Atlanta and saw an opportunity to get an earlier flight from Atlanta to Dallas. The gate agent was busy, but gave me a new boarding pass for the earlier flight. As I was sitting in my seat, the flight attendant commented that this flight was going to Houston and would arrive at a certain time. I realized that I wasn’t going to Houston! Fortunately the door had not closed and I was able to get off that flight and wait for my regularly assigned flight to Dallas. I was on the wrong plane.
I have learned that I don’t determine where the flights go – the airlines do that. I have also learned that I don’t really determine what I want to do – I do better when I follow what God has determined for me to do. I hope that when I am on my plan instead of His plan, He hasn’t closed the door yet and I can get back onto His plan. My plans seldom go to the right places – His plans always put me in the right place.
3. I have learned that the instructions to fasten the seatbelt are for my safety. We don’t really expect to need the seatbelt, but sometimes there is turbulent air, and sometimes there is even a bumpy landing. The seatbelt is for my safety. It is to be used.
God gives me a lot of directions for life. They are for my safety. While I think that I might never or seldom need them, I have learned that I need to follow all of His instructions. They are for my benefit.
Occasionally I have been reading while I was waiting for a plane to push back from the gate and failed to fasten my seatbelt. Fortunately the flight attendant comes around and reminds me to put on the seatbelt. I am glad that God puts a lot of people in my path who remind me of things I need to do. I need somebody who can offer me constructive criticism and help. I don’t need to become defensive and stubborn when people make helpful suggestions.
Learning a lesson is good. Applying the lesson is better!