The apostle Paul told the new Christians in Thessalonica to be supportive of one another. He especially wanted them to bless and mentor those who were sharing the Gospel in that area. His words still ring true today. We need to be encouraging one another, especially those in the household of faith (other believers). “Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11) Praise God for those who see the need to offer a word of inspiration to others. I love this story and its implications to our faith.
Charles Plumb was a US Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6
years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience!
One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, “You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!”
“How in the world did you know that?” asked Plumb.
“I packed your parachute,” the man replied.
Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude.
The man pumped his hand and said, “I guess it worked!”
Plumb assured him, “It sure did. If your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.”
Plumb couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, “I kept wondering what he had looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat; a bib in the back; and bell-bottom trousers.
“I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said ‘Good morning, how are you?’ or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor.” Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent at a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn’t know.
Now, Plumb asks his audience, “Who’s packing your parachute?” Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day. He also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory — he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety.
Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is important. We may fail to say “hello”, “please”, or “thank you”, congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason. As you go through this week, this month, this year, recognize people who pack your parachutes.
I am sending you this as my way of thanking you for your part in packing our parachute. And I hope you will send it on to those who have helped pack yours!
Sometimes, we wonder why friends keep forwarding jokes to us without writing a word. Maybe this could explain it! When you are very busy, but still want to keep in touch, guess what you do — you forward jokes. And to let you know that you are still remembered, you are still important, you are still loved, you are still cared for, guess what you get? A forwarded joke.
So, my friend, next time when you get a joke, don’t think that you’ve been sent just another forwarded joke, but that you’ve been thought of today and your friend on the other end of your computer wanted to send you a smile, just helping you pack your parachute.
Whose parachute have you packed today?
When you need some encouragement can you share that need with someone close? Can you be open and transparent enough to recognize that it is normal that all of us need a “that-a-boy” every now and then?
Pass this along to someone you care about with a note that you would like to weekly send them our devotional to be supportive of them and their spiritual journey.
Jim Grassi, D. Min.