(I shared this with some friends recently. Hope you enjoy it!)
Generosity – Proverbs 11:25 – A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.
April 3, 2005
Flight to Providence, RI
Today I was upgraded to first class because of my medallion status. Nice benefit! I’d boarded the airplane about ten minutes before most of the other passengers. I had been given a cup of coffee, and was going deep into a new book that I’d just picked up. My seat was number 1C, which was the first aisle seat on the right-hand side of the aircraft. Therefore, my seat was the first seat each passenger passed as they were getting on the plane.
As I was reading, the other passengers began boarding. I was deeply focused on what I was reading. People had been passing by for about five minutes; I had barely noticed. Then, for no reason I can think of, I glanced up. I saw a young military man in a crisp looking, Navy dress uniform. He was standing still two to three feet in front of me waiting for the line of people to move. He looked so sharp, and so young. Judging from a quick observation, he was about the age of two of my sons, Joe and Clint. Well, I only looked at him for about two seconds and then I dropped my eyes back to my book.
Something stirred within me. A small voice, I knew it was God, began to speak in my mind. “Give up your seat.”
Years ago, my youngest son Brock was on a camping trip with his 6th grade class. The kids were in two cabins—one for the girls, and one for the boys. Brock and three of his friends decided in the middle of the night to sneak out of the window of the cabin; run to the girl’s cabin, and bang on the walls to scare them. They ran back to the cabin, and as they climbed back through the window, there stood their principal waiting on them! Well, the result was that all four boys were suspended for a day as they had broken a pretty big rule—don’t leave the cabin after the lights are turned off. I remember sitting down with Brock in our den, putting his knees right between mine, and talking to him “man-to-man.” I made him look me right in the eye. “Brock, when you were getting ready to climb out the window, did you hear a little voice in your head telling you not to do it?” He knew he was in trouble. He shook his head yes. “Well that little voice was God talking to you. You see, last year when you accepted Christ into your heart, God gave you an extra bonus. He gave you the Holy Spirit to guide you. That’s what you heard, God trying to help you. From now on, when you hear that voice, listen to it. Brock, God will never do anything to hurt you. He will guide you, but you must listen and obey when you hear that voice.” I hugged my son, told him I loved him, and sent him to his room.
This was the voice I was hearing right then on the airplane. I had been given an upgrade that I had truly done nothing for. I didn’t buy it; I had just shown up and lucked out. I was enjoying comfort and extra amenities while that young man, who had made the ultimate choice to serve his country, had to sit in a cramped seat in the back of the plane. What could I do for him? How could I serve him? It was useless to think that I would ever get my mind back on the book. I was totally focused on my “mission”.
I certainly didn’t want to embarrass him or put the spotlight on me. I waited until all of the passengers were on board and the crew closed the door. I had a running battle in my mind. Do I do this or not? What will people think? I don’t want to be embarrassed, or embarrass him. This went on for several minutes. But the voice was there. “Just do it!”
I knew that I only had a very short time to act. When the plane begins to move, all passengers have to remain in their seats with their seat belts buckled. I had told my son Brock, “Obey the voice when you hear it.” Would I take my own advice?
To be continued tomorrow . . .