“… is not the life more than meat, and the body more than raiment?” Matthew 6:25
I just landed after two long legs of flights from the US to Asia. Exhausting.
For countless times, I have heard the pre-flight instructions from the cabin deck, but for some reason, on the first leg of the trip, the same trite sentence reverberated in my mind like the after-shocks of a violent bolt of lightning: “In case of an emergency evacuation, leave all carry-on luggage behind.”
Why? Why shouldn’t I hold on to my handbag with my cell phone, cash, passport, credit cards, jewelry, make-up, keys to my car and home, and other things I hurriedly stashed for travel emergencies?
Because an emergency landing is a matter of life and death. Because nothing else matters but the very lives of the passengers.
And what of the luggage left behind? Critical times require critical thinking. Triage. Luggage contents may or may not be replaced, but there is a limit to their value. Even the world’s greatest treasures have a finite monetary amount. Numbers go on to infinity. There will always be a calculated amount which puts the worth of these earthly treasures in their proper places.
Not so with human life. Despite the atrocities of slavery which imputed monetary value on human slaves, the worth of a person cannot be measured.
How succinctly Jesus pointed to the central truths of our existence in this world. How often He admonished the people not to lay up treasures upon earth, but to lay up treasures upon heaven: to provide for eternity, to ensure one’s place in the Kingdom of God. Centuries ago, a wise emperor of Germany, once described heavenly treasures in these words: “Such goods are worth getting and knowing, as will not sink nor wash away if a shipwreck happens.” In today’s jet age parlance, such goods as will not sink nor wash away if an airplane emergency evacuation on the ocean happens.
That was some flight.
* Photograph by Above the Ocean by Colleen Lane