On a flight from Dallas to Phoenix with open seating, a man arrived at the gate early enough to get an early boarding number. He overheard the boarding agent say that the plane was not sold out, but there would be a few unused seats on the plane. Then he says, “I felt lucky and relieved when I got on board to find a window seat open with a vacant seat beside it.” Of course, you know what he did. He took his briefcase and put it on the vacant seat and opened his newspaper big and wide, so as the passengers came streaming down the aisle of the plane, that vacant seat looked as uninviting as possible. Be honest, have you ever done that? He says, “So what I was doing was seeing the people coming onto the plane as threats and nuisances. Their needs and desires counted far less than mine.”
On a different occasion, this same man was on a plane with his wife, and their tickets got mixed up, so they were not sitting together. The flight attendant was having a hard time getting them seats together. A woman came up and said, “Excuse me, if you need two seats together, I believe the seat next to me is vacant, and I’d be happy to sit in one of your seats.” In contrast to the first situation, this woman saw the needs of the other passengers, and decided to do something about it by giving of herself.
So, here are two situations on a plane in which people have empty seats next to them, and yet each respond in a much different way.
The season of Lent teaches us about sacrifice, and, like the woman, loving our neighbors as ourselves and putting their needs ahead of her own. As we begin our Lenten journey together, may God give to each of us servants’ heart of sacrifice and unselfishness in our daily lives of faith, whether at church, at home, at work, or even in the air.
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Quote of the Week
“The Christian faith is meant to be lived moment by moment. It isn’t some broad, general outline—it’s a long walk with a real Person. Details count: passing thoughts, small sacrifices, a few encouraging words, little acts of kindness, brief victories over nagging sins.” Joni Eareckson Tada
Joni Eareckson Tada is an evangelical Christian author, radio host, and founder of Joni and Friends, an organization "accelerating Christian ministry in the disability community."