Pastor Ralph J. Mineo, St. Luke’s Lutheran Church
Charlie Plumb was a US Navy pilot in Vietnam. His plane was shot down on the 75th mission (only 5 days before he was to return home). Plumb parachuted into enemy hands, was captured, tortured, and imprisoned in an 8 foot by 8 foot cell. He was a prisoner of war for 2103 days.
In his memoirs, he tells of a day when he and his wife were in a restaurant in Kansas City. A man from a nearby table approached him and said, “You’re Captain Plumb! You 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 asked the man how he knew all that. The man answered, “Because I packed your parachute!”
In his motivational speaking lectures, Plumb asks his audience, “Who packs YOUR parachute?” He reminds his hearers that everyone has people in their lives who provide something of what we need to make it through the day.
Plumb points out that he needed different kinds of parachutes after his plane was shot down. Besides his physical parachute, he also needed a mental parachute, an emotional parachute, and a spiritual parachute. All these supports were needed during his ordeal.
face difficult challenges in our lives, God provides people to help and support us. We need people to help us with our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs.
In his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul reminds believers: “Be careful how you live. Make the most of your time because the days are evil. Do your best to understand the will of God.”
There are infinite ways we can do God’s will in our daily lives. I believe it’s God’s will that each of us is to be part of a network of providers, helping each other and being helped in our struggles. God blesses and strengthens this network. God is, in fact, at the center of this network. We sometimes take this help for granted. We are even sometimes unaware of who provides help. (Captain Plumb didn’t know the packer of his parachute until many years later.)
As part of his motivational speeches, Captain Plumb asks his listeners to take some time to THANK those who have given
help and encouragement along the way. What a basic, important concept!
So get out there and express your gratitude. Also, give thanks to God daily for providing us with a network of helpers. Finally, ask God for the wisdom, strength, willingness, and determination to help others in their needs.
Believe this: God GRACIOUSLY provides!