Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Soft Drinks, Snacks, and Airplane Takeoff

I made my way down the narrow aisle of the airplane. Backpack slung over one shoulder and sliding down as quickly as I pushed it back in place, pulling my rolling bag behind me, I was anything but graceful. The plane was packed and I was in D seat. The middle one. 

I plopped my backpack on my seat and went in search of an overhead compartment. A few seats back, I finally found a spot, jostled through the crowd, and stowed my bag. The rest of my fellow passengers were busy with the tasks of preparing for the flight. 

At last, we were all settled, seats in the upright position, tray tables up, personal items securely stowed under the seat in front of us, seat belts fastened. There was a collective sigh. We were ready to go.

We waited.

We waited some more.

At last, the pilot came on the intercom system. There had been a problem, he said. My first thought was sabotage of the aircraft. (I know. It's not likely, but I'm a suspense writer. What can I say?) It was not sabotage. It was a crazy error. 

Our takeoff was delayed because the catering truck had serviced the wrong airplane. Our plane couldn't take off because there were no soft drinks and cookies. I laughed. Surely this was a joke. A plane couldn't fly without soft drinks and snacks? 

He was serious.

The catering truck was several miles away, and we would have to wait for its arrival. It would take a while. I had a long layover after the flight, so my schedule was flexible. Not everyone had the same luxury. I heard groans throughout the cabin as people calculated the likelihood of making their connection. No one wanted to miss their next flight because of ginger ale and cookies.

He allowed the crazy truth to sink in, then offered a solution. We could go without snacks and sodas if everyone was agreeable. He suggested an applause vote. Everyone who wanted to leave without waiting for the catering truck should clap. The applause was deafening. Everyone who wanted to wait for the snacks should clap next. Not one person dared to applaud. 

The engine roared to life and we were soon airborne. No snacks. No sodas.

As it turned out, the staff were not completely without refreshments to offer. They had cups and napkins, but not a lot else. There was some coffee and a few leftover snacks. After a quick count, they found there was enough for everyone to have one snack. 

The stewardesses brewed coffee. Halfway through the flight, the ladies pulled their refreshment cart into the aisle and headed through the cabin. 

They were not only accustomed to serving, they were determined to serve. 

We had our choice of a half-cup of coffee or a full cup of water and either a cookie, a small bag of peanuts, or a small bag of pretzels.

I accepted my coffee and peanuts, grateful for the service they had chosen to provide. It seemed like a bonus, rather than something to which we were "entitled". 

What surprised me about this incident was the determination to serve. We had been told there would be no service. The stewardesses could have offered nothing and no one would have questioned their decision.

Instead, they served because serving is what they do. Having little did not deter them.

We, as the body of Christ, could take a lesson from those determined ladies. We are also called to serve. The imperative of service has nothing at all to do with the amount God has placed in our hands. Rich and poor alike are to serve one another, in humility and love. Talented and less talented share the same mandate of service. 

We are called to be servants, because servanthood was the example our Lord set for us.

Hear the words of Jesus: 

Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, "If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all." Mark 9:35 nasb

It's an odd paradox. In the Kingdom of God, position is determined by service. The first are last. The lowest servants occupy the highest spot. 

As disciples of Christ, we are called to serve, so let's serve, no matter what resources God has given us. Let us pour out ourselves to those around us, giving freely, loving with abandon, demonstrating to a cold and dark world that the light of Christ has come for all.

#servant #JesusChrist #disciple #airlinesnacks 

photo courtesy of freeimages.com