After six weeks of “granddaughter-in-Florida”, our granddaughter’s parents asked for her back (fancy that!). We were “invited” to bring her back to Ohio just in time for her to be able to start school three days after she returned.
Rather than make the 15-hour drive, we decided to accompany her on her return trip by air.
As we took our places in our seats on the plane, I noticed that we were seated in the row just in front of the Emergency Exit rows of seats right over the wings of the plane.
I am tall and those rows have more leg room for tall people like me.
As we took our seats, and the head flight attendant began to go through the litany of safety procedures which are also “printed on the card in the pocket of the seat back in front of you”, I did what practically everyone else on the plane seems to always do – I figured I had heard this many times before and therefore paid very little attention to what was being said.
But then, one of the attendants came to the rows just behind me and (I could not help but overhear) went through the requirements for people sitting in those seats with each of the individuals sitting there. She then asked each passenger directly if he or she was able to fulfill the responsibility of someone sitting in that seat – the responsibility of opening the Emergency Exit door and helping other passengers get out of the plane as quickly as possible.
By asking for a verbal response from each individual, this lady drove home the importance of that responsibility and demanded that each person there read the card.
Why is that so important? Because dozens of people (including me, my bride, and my granddaughter) are relying on their knowledge and ability to open the door.
And that same sort of answer drives me in my Christian life to be a doer of the Word, and not just a hearer who gives lip service to the Word, but by my inaction denies the reality behind it!
We read in James 1:22-24 these words: “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.”
These words remind us that we are to committed, faithful, and dedicated in following Jesus, but there is one more thing that is absolutely essential for anyone who would be a true follower of His: Obedience.
In John 15, Jesus tells anyone who would be his disciples that He is the good shepherd who faithfully and tenderly cares for his sheep. He is talking with those who would commit to following His commands.
He then says, in verse 10, “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”
Jesus is telling us to pay attention and obey Him! That is how we prove that we are committed, faithful, and dedicated followers of Jesus.
Anyone who knows my bride knows that she is very short. As I said before, I am tall, over a foot taller than she. We make a kind of Mutt-and-Jeff sort of couple.
Although in this day of social distancing such crowds are hard to find, when we have been in dense crowded situations, such as at a ball game or a concert of sorts, moving toward the arena to get to our seats, it is very important for Susie to hold tightly onto my hand in those situations, simply because she cannot see where we are going, and I can.
My challenge to her is simple: “Hang onto me and we will get there!” And we do!
That same challenge goes for anyone who would follow Christ in the real world today. Like sitting in the seats in the Emergency Exit row, take your place seriously. Obey His word.
Follow His lead and hang onto Him and you’ll get there!
God bless …
Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for the News Journal and a former pastor in the area. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.