On Autopilot

>> Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Remember the story in the news about the plane that took off in Florida and crashed in S. Dakota … flying on autopilot until it ran out of gas … killing all on board. One thought has lingered since then. Am I on autopilot? Are you?

The air traffic controllers knew there was a problem when the plane didn’t make its first course correction, which would have taken it to Texas. Yet the plane continued in a straight line. They even sent fighter pilots up to fly alongside to check it out. One pilot said he was only 100 feet from the plane, yet there was nothing he could do. The corrections had to come from within the plane. And those on board were incapacitated in some way.

As a Christian, we daily talk to people who are on autopilot. We can beat them over the head with our Bible, or overload them with Christian information. We can make a list of do’s and don’ts for them. But unless they choose to make a course correction, we are helpless to assist them.

What about our neighbors? Our family? The lady in the check out line? The man who fixes our car? These people may be on autopilot. Maybe they’ve been hurt by a church, left by a spouse, or never had enough money to quite make it. If they are dead in their soul, and have no belief in the One who can save them, then they have no power. Unless they choose to respond to our reaching out, they will eventually run out of fuel and crash.

And here’s the bottom line. We are flying beside them, not in the airplane with them. We cannot take over their controls.

“Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.” Hebrews 13:1-3 (NLT)


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