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. The oxygen mask. The flight attendant announces that in case of emergency the oxygen mask will drop. We are also instructed to put on our own oxygen mask before we try to help a child or person next to us put on their oxygen mask. At first that seemed a little selfish to me, but then I realized that I can’t be of help to anybody else until first my own oxygen mask is secure.
In life, and particularly in ministry, we are always so focused on trying to help other people that it is easy to neglect ourselves. It is very true that “I can’t lead where I am not going.” I cannot be of help to other people until I have put on my own oxygen mask.
I have learned that prayer and fasting are extremely important to my health. Fasting isn’t always giving up food. It can be giving up for a period of time a cell phone or a computer. I tend to think that I need to always be available. God can still operate His world if I miss a phone call. I have also discovered that if the phone rings and I just look at it and don’t answer it, it will soon stop ringing! If it is not someone in my family who might be experiencing an emergency, they can leave a voicemail and I can follow up a little later.
Taking care of myself enables me to better take care of other people.
2. Prepare for emergency – the flight attendant always gives instructions about what to do in case of an emergency. They have people assigned who will open emergency doors. We are told where the emergency flotation devices are. We are asked to observe the floor lights and the walkways that lead to exits.
So far I have never had a major emergency on a flight. I just read this past year about two or three different airline emergencies. A lot of people’s lives were saved because they followed those emergency instructions.
God instructs me to always be ready for emergencies. We never know when they are going to occur. Preparedness is most important. Part of the armor of God is to have “feet that are fitted with readiness.” We also are told that we will never know the time when the thief might slip in. We don’t know when Satan is going to attack us. We need to be ready.
I had my automobile stolen off my carport one night. The thieves kept it for almost a month. I had no idea that I would ever be subject to having my car stolen. I live in a nice neighborhood. If the thieves had just told me when they were coming, I would have been ready and they would never have gotten my car.
Satan never announces in advance when he is going to create an emergency in our lives. We have to be ready.
3. Follow the instructions. The flight attendants always do an excellent job in giving all those instructions. The effectiveness of the instructions is not in how well they are given – but in how well they are followed. I can listen, but not necessarily obey some of the instructions.
God’s instructions in the Bible are for our benefit. They are not there to be debated – but obeyed.
My plane leaves in a few minutes!