Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving and parachutes

Did the entire Church worldwide get the same sermon yesterday about the 10 lepers who were healed and the one who gave thanks? LOL Well, I got it twice.

As a guest at our local COG Saturday night, their senior pastor used that story in Luke 17 as his main Scripture. Then, at my home church Sunday morning, Pastor D made reference to it as well. But, there was one other allusion I heard that has stuck with me all weekend and I just wanted to share it during this week of Thanksgiving for those of us in the States.

Captain L Charles Plumb flew aircraft for the U.S. Navy during Vietnam. The story of his life, his training, his capture, and his time as a POW have been so extraordinary that it has been captured in books and he is now a motivational speaker who tours the country.

The pastor I heard speak on Saturday shared this story from Plumb's life:

A few years ago, Capt. Plumb was in Kansas City having a meal. A man across the restaurant kept looking at Plumb as if he knew him and eventually approached him.

"You're Capt.
flew jet fighters in Vietnam. You were on the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down. You parachuted into enemy hands and spent six years as a prisoner of war."

Plumb confirmed that yes that was him but inquired how the man knew all that.

"Because I packed your parachute."

Standing before him, many years older, was the sailor who had packed Capt. Plumb's parachute days, maybe hours before he fell into enemy hands.

Plumb describes jumping up and shaking the man's hand and said "...
I've said a lot of prayers of thanks for your nimble fingers, but I never thought I'd have the opportunity to express my gratitude in person."

The men spoke for a few more minutes, parted ways, and then Plumb says that later that night, he still could not get the man off his mind.

"...I kept wondering what he might have looked like in a Navy uniform - a Dixie cup hat, a bib in the back and bell bottom trousers. I wondered how many times I might have passed him on board the Kitty Hawk. I wondered 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. How many hours did he spend on that long wooden table in the bowels of that ship weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of those chutes? I could have cared less...until one day my parachute came along and he packed it for me."

So, who is packing YOUR parachute? Who is holding you up physically, spiritually, or prayerfully? Who does those everyday, small things in your life? Who is the person who you may not have acknowledged that is packing your chute as you read this. Who do you need to seek out and thank this week?

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