Friday, February 20, 2009


A fellow without too much experience of the modern world was taking his first trip in an airliner. He was a little nervous, to say the least. But, all his friends assured him that, modern technology being what it is, he would be safer in the air than driving his pickup truck.

He was finally convinced to give it a try and went to the airport, where he boarded his flight.

After his return, a few days later, his neighbours exclaimed, "See, Billy? You were safe! Now wasn't that easy?"

“Well," Billy snorted, "it was alright. The food was passable and the movie was okay, but I want you to know I never put my weight fully down in the seat for the whole flight!"

This old story, I think, illustrates a difficulty that all of us face from time-to-time. There are just some things that, no matter how many experts tell you about their conviction, you either have to prove for yourself or remain unconvinced.

The other side of this is the certainty that there is a right way and a wrong way to do something. When I was taking my flying lessons, I was taught that there were definite procedures that had to be followed in a ritualistic fashion in order to prevent a catastrophe. It was not enough to know that the last person who used the aircraft had done a ‘walk-around’ and confirmed that the tanks were full, the prop and flying surfaces undamaged. Things might have changed during, or after, the flight.

I remember hearing of a private pilot who pulled into a service centre at an airport, after a long flight, and told a new employee to ‘top off the tanks.’ The pilot went inside while the young attendant went about his task.

The traveller returned, didn’t do a proper ‘walk-around’ and took off. Ten minutes later, he was calling in a ‘Mayday.’ It seems that the new guy had misunderstood what his instructions were. He had filled the tanks on the small plane but had left the ‘top off the tanks.’ Movement of air over the open filler tube had suctioned most of the fuel from the tanks in flight.

Sometimes it pays to be cautious. But there are some things we need to be able to trust.

It is good to have a network of friends who are trustworthy. It is essential to be able to trust our co-workers when there is danger all around.

Let me suggest, too, that we need to be assured we can ‘put our weight fully down on’ the God we believe in.

Different people make different things their personal gods. Money won’t do it. In the present economy, we know it could all be gone tomorrow. Possessions are equally as perishable. Fame is fleeting. No matter how great your friends might think you are, don’t think you can worship your own abilities, or those of others. Maybe your efforts to prove how un-spiritual you can be have become your god of choice. None of these things will support you when life is crashing. In times of trial, it’s amazing how quickly some folks seem to ‘get religion.’

We are told that there is a God we can trust—a God we can put our full weight upon and trust to support us all the time. Some believe that. Some don’t. Until they do, they can’t rest confidently. It makes for a rather uncomfortable trip.

Throw all your worry on [God], because he cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:7 (ISV)

Robert Scott is a pastor and the author of ADVERTISING MURDER, LOST YOUTH and MURDER EXPRESS, titles in the Jack Elton Mystery series, Published by AVALON Books, New York

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